Paris-cinéma (Pierre Chenal & Jean Mitry, 1928)

< Program < Cinémathèque française

Pierre Chenal and Jean Mitry

1928 / running time: 32′ / silent / black and white with tinting / French intertitles

Available one week only, Wednesday, November 11-18, 2020

Photo credit: Courtesy of Gaumont-Pathé Archives

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The first behind-the-scenes documentary on the film industry: from the making of a camera (Debrie) to studio staging and shooting, as well as animation techniques. Pierre Chenal meets André Rigal, who makes a series of freehand drawings in his studio. These sketches are then crushed in a coffee grinder, from which a film cartoon emerges. In Champigny, Alain Saint-Ogan and his animator work on Zig et Puce and create the first steps of Alfred, the penguin. In Fontenay-sous-Bois, Ladislas Starewicz introduces his future stars. Pierre Chenal described his film as follows: “I had planned to shoot a documentary about filmmaking so that I could learn how to make one myself.”


Film digitized in cooperation with Gaumont Pathé archives from a nitrate negative for tinting, conserved in 1988 on a safety print at the Cinémathèque française. Special thanks to Manuela Padoan (Gaumont).

Find out more about Jean Mitry, co-founder with Henri Langlois and Georges Franju of the Cinémathèque française and manager of the archives, the universal filmography project, and member of the Commission de recherches historiques (CRH) from 1936 to 1947: