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Toute la mémoire du monde (1957)

This documentary explores the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, its priceless treasures and how humanity remembers itself.

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This documentary explores the Bibliothèque Nationale in Paris, its priceless treasures and how humanity remembers itself.

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Documentary | Short

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May 1957 (France)  »

Also Known As:

A világ emlékezete  »

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A library as a mind
9 May 2014 | by (Edinburgh, Scotland, UK) – See all my reviews

Toute la mémoire du monde is a short documentary that Alain Resnais made before he became one of the giants of the New Wave. In some ways it does prefigure some of the ideas he would explore in his future feature films. For instance, while this may be a documentary about the Bibliotheque Nationale in Paris, it is also interested in exploring the mazes of the mind; in this respect it has much in common with Resnais most famous film Last Year at Marienbad. We look at this famous library and liken it to a physical representation of a mind. We see how knowledge is organised within it, with the purpose of storing it away for some future reference not yet known. The library is depicted as a growing entity; almost alive. As more books are published it burrows deeper into the ground to accommodate them and to ensure that the memories of our culture are never lost.

Aside from this, it works as an interesting look at a famous institution. When you watch it now, it's difficult not to think that the smallest of computers could now store the entire contents of the library back then. Advances in technology have changed things irrevocably. But I like to think that this old library is still growing and evolving to accommodate physical media and always will do. Some things are worth preserving and to never be forgotten.


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