Tag Archives: Film Archive

Latest Obsession: British Pathé


Imagine a film archive that preserves some of the great accomplishments and most tragic and  notable events of Western civilization in the 20th century. The British Pathé Archive, a sprawling collection of news pieces from the early 20th century though the 1970s, made an extraordinary number of newsreels and Cinemazines (longer versions of their newsreels). All 90,000 of their films are available to view online for free.

Enter through the archive’s blog to view archive highlights and read writers remark on the historical films. What stole my heart were the human interest stories. These good humored exposés capture Britian’s sometimes quirky culture.

The progression of film type and quality -the earliest are silent- reflects the changing technology of the moving image. Clips are organized by categories like Lifestyle & Culture, Historical Figures & Celebrities, and War & Revolution. Rare footage includes digitized films and stills of archaeological digs, reporting from both World Wars, the women’s rights movement, and scientific and technological breakthroughs. The British Pathé Archive is on Pinterest too, where I know I’ll be spending many hours as I hibernate this winter.

Some selections from the library I’ve recently watched:

Amelia Earhart, aka “Lady Lindy,” landing in London to a crowd’s welcome.

A poodle spends her afternoon at the beauty salon.

The strange superstitions of the Isle of Man including the “Fairy Bridge” where visitors greet the secret fairies for good luck.

Tea time on a tight rope, this stunt never gets old.

Images from The British Pathé on Pinterest.

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Wanderlist #2: Cinémathèque de Tanger

Wanderlist #2 CdT

Years ago, I clipped an article about Cinémathèque de Tanger in Morocco and sent it to a film archivist friend and pen pal, Taz. Many months later, Taz took a trip to Tangiers and, to my surprise, my next care package from her included a pin from the Cinémathèque! She had been able to go to the film center and get a behind-the-scenes tour in which she saw old movie posters and heard about the types of acquisitions the center hoped to grow with. Her tip: “We were lucky to get in on the fly, but I’m sure they’d be able to make it even more special with advanced notice.”

 Cinematheque Tanger

Cinémathèque de Tanger is exemplary both as a focal point for discussing, viewing, and sharing film treasures and as an archive (films from Gabriel Veyre, Ahmed Bouanani, Hicham Falah, Mohamed Chrif Tribak, and many more). Cinémathèque de Tanger has been a pioneer in offering screenings for films rarely seen in Morocco and preserving and promoting North African and Arabian cinema. They have set the groundwork for other film organizations to work with Moroccan authorities, censors, and film vendors and have built collaborations with cultural institutions around the world.

Cinémathèque de Tanger

The Cinémathèque is housed in a beautiful, old movie theater that is a natural gathering point and welcomes people to the archive. If you happen to be in Morocco, stop by the cinema and visit their cafe, which co-founder and director Yto Barrada says has taken on it’s own local importance, “Something we didn’t anticipate is the way our café has been taken over by the local teenagers and young adults who seem to spend all of their free time there flirting, playing the guitar, singing, using the free Internet, nursing a Coca Cola, hitting on our interns and very occasionally going to see a movie.”

Images from Pete, Cinémathèque de Tanger, and Frieze.

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