IMDb > Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinémathèque (2004)

Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinémathèque (2004) More at IMDbPro »Le fantôme d'Henri Langlois (original title)

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Henri Langlois: The Phantom of the Cinémathèque -- A "first rate documentary" (NY Post) and "a memoir of a lost kingdom" (Village Voice), HENRI LANGLOIS: PHANTOM OF THE CINEMATHEQUE celebrates the man who cultivated cinema's future by protecting its past. Langlois, in the words of grateful acolyte Jean-Luc Godard, "produced a way of seeing films" that inspired two generations of filmmakers and changed the medium itself.


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Release Date:
2 March 2005 (France) See more »
Life and work of the founder of the Cinémathèque Française. Full summary » | Add synopsis »
1 nomination See more »
User Reviews:
if only I could somehow bring Henri Langlois back from the dead... See more (5 total) »


Henri Alekan ... Himself
Catherine Allégret ... Herself
Jo Amorin ... Himself
Jean-Michel Arnold ... Himself
Christian Auboire ... Himself
François Barat ... Himself
Raphaël Bassan ... Himself

Jean-Paul Belmondo ... (archive footage)
Claude Berri ... Himself
Bernard Boursicot ... Himself
Marie-Charlotte Bridant ... Herself
Freddy Buache ... Himself
Raymonde Carasco ... Herself
Pierre Cardin ... Himself

Marcel Carné ... (archive footage)
Françoise Carvilani ... Herself
Jean Casol ... Himself

Claude Chabrol ... Himself
Jacques Champreux ... Himself
Odile Chapel ... Herself
Michel Ciment ... Himself
Daniel Cohn-Bendit ... Himself
Claudia Collao ... Herself

Cyril Collard ... Himself (archive footage)
Henri Colpi ... Himself
Frédéric Compain ... Himself

Mireille Darc ... (archive footage)
Georges de Caunes ... Himself (archive footage)
Hervé de Luze ... Himself
Sybille de Luze ... Herself
Philippe de Pardaillan ... Himself
Michel Delahaye ... (archive footage)
Ghislaine Dewind ... Herself
Jean Diard ... Himself
Jean Douchet ... Himself
Max Douy ... Himself
Brigitte Duvivier ... Herself
Bernard Eisenschitz ... Himself
Lotte Eisner ... Herself
Jean Eustache ... (archive footage)
Gérard Fallin ... Himself
Zahra Farzanef ... Herself
Feri Farzaneh ... Himself
Françoise Foucault ... Herself
Georges Franju ... Himself (archive footage)
Alain Gabet ... Himself
Abel Gance ... Himself (archive footage)

Philippe Garrel ... Himself
Farokh Ghafari ... Himself
Noëlle Giret ... Herself

Jean-Luc Godard ... Himself
Georges Goldfayn ... Himself
Romain Goupil ... Himself
Hiroko Govars ... Herself
Laurent Heynemann ... Himself

Alfred Hitchcock ... (archive footage)
André Holleaux ... Himself (archive footage)
Robert Hossein ... Himself
Henri Hudrisier ... Himself
François Husard ... Himself
Léone Jaffin ... Herself
Miklós Jancsó ... Himself
Marie-Josée Jeannet ... Herself
Valérie Jeannet ... Herself
Pierre Kast ... (archive footage)

Gene Kelly ... (archive footage)
Georges Kiejman ... (archive footage)
André S. Labarthe ... Himself
Marguerite Laloi-Diard ... Herself
Valérie Lalonde ... Herself
Xavier Lambours ... Himself
Henri Langlois ... Himself (archive footage)
Hugues Langlois ... Himself
Jean-Louis Langlois ... Himself
Paul Lantéri ... Himself
Éric Le Roy ... Himself
Richard Leacock ... Himself
Maurice Lemaître ... Himself
Luce Leray-Mauriac ... Herself
Roland Lesaffre ... Himself
Lucie Lichtig ... Herself
Renée Lichtig ... Herself
Serge Losique ... Himself

Jean-Pierre Léaud ... Himself
Marc Maintigneux ... Himself
Marie-France ... Herself
Bernard Martinand ... Himself
Mary Meerson ... Herself (archive footage)
Frédéric Mitterrand ... Himself
Pierre Moinot ... Himself
Maud Molyneux ... Herself
Laurent Muratet ... Himself
Glenn Myrent ... Himself
Marie-Hélène Méliès-Lehérissey ... Herself
Jean Narboni ... Himself
Marie-José Nat ... (archive footage)
Luc Passerau-Supervielle ... Himself
Véronique Perlès ... Herself
Olivier Petitjean ... Himself
Pierre Philippe ... Himself

Maurice Pialat ... Himself (archive footage)
Jack Ralite ... Himself
Jean-Pierre Rassam ... Himself (archive footage)
Nicholas Ray ... Himself (archive footage)

Satyajit Ray ... Himself (archive footage)

Jean Renoir ... Himself (archive footage)

Alain Resnais ... Himself (archive footage)
Jean Reznikov ... Himself
Patrick Rinoux ... Himself
Jacques Rivette ... Himself (archive footage)
Jacques Robiolles ... Himself
Pascal Rogard ... Himself

Eric Rohmer ... Himself
Muriel Rosé ... Herself
Jean Rouch ... Himself
Ambroise Roux ... Himself
Ewa Rudling ... Herself
Jacques Salom ... Himself
Peter Scarlet ... Himself
Daniel Schmidt ... Himself

Barbet Schroeder ... Himself (archive footage)
Werner Schroeter ... Himself
Nicolas Seydoux ... Himself - gaumont

Simone Signoret ... Herself (archive footage)
Jean-Charles Tacchella ... Himself
Lionel Tardif ... Himself
Max Tessier ... Himself
Serge Toubiana ... Himself

François Truffaut ... Himself (archive footage)
Jean Tulard ... Himself

Jack Valenti ... Himself
Agathe Vannier ... Herself

Agnès Varda ... Herself
Bénédicte Veilloux ... Herself
Luce Vigo ... Herself
Raoul Walsh ... Himself (archive footage)
Michel Warren ... Himself

Directed by
Jacques Richard 
Writing credits
(in alphabetical order)
Jacques Richard 

Produced by
Jacques Richard .... producer
Original Music by
Nicolas Baby 
Liam Farrell 
Cinematography by
Jérôme Blumberg 
Jacques Richard 
Film Editing by
Fabrice Radenac 
Second Unit Director or Assistant Director
Marie-Charlotte Bridant .... assistant director
Sound Department
François Didio .... sound editor
Mathieu Genet .... sound mixer
Editorial Department
Dominique Le Rigoleur .... color timer
Bruno Patin .... color timer

Production CompaniesDistributors

Additional Details

Also Known As:
"Le fantôme d'Henri Langlois" - France (original title)
"Henri Langlois: Phantom of the Cinematheque" - USA (original subtitled version)
See more »
210 min | USA:128 min
Aspect Ratio:
1.33 : 1 See more »

Did You Know?

Glenn Myrent:I'd say the Langlois Museum's major significance is that we see, for the first time, unfolded in one place, the whole glorious history of cinema. Proving how international, how huge and elaborate the saga is. He showed us film history in all its complexity...See more »
Movie Connections:
References The Starfish (1928)See more »


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12 out of 12 people found the following review useful.
if only I could somehow bring Henri Langlois back from the dead..., 23 January 2007
Author: MisterWhiplash from United States

...Because, as this documentary makes quite clear, Langlois was one of the greatest film geeks that ever lived, and it would be heaven-sent (if there is a heaven) to have him back at the Cinematheque again. And I say the word 'geek' with the utmost enthusiasm and admiration and respect et all. Langlois was not just a film buff's film buff (no New-Wave without him, hence probably most of today's cinema), but also open to anyone who might be interested in checking out his museum of cinematic wonders, where he collected objects and put them in the spaces and hallways with brilliant ease. He was probably the greatest programmer of any privately functioning theater ever. After amassing 50,000+ film prints over a span of a couple of decades, the Cinematheque in Paris became THE place where fans of film (and auteurs to be exact) could come and see entire careers of a director, or, more importantly, even bring their own film or a 'heisted' print to be included in the archives. It was no surprise then when an incredible uprising occurred over Langois being ousted in 1968, and when finally re-instated things could never totally be the same again.

Rarely have I seen someone documented who in a way is as important to the history of film as any other important filmmaker from any part of the country. As Jean-Luc Godard says at the start of the film, "Langlois was like a film producer who produced a way of seeing films." He was in large part preservationist who held onto original negatives (sometimes in nitrate form) and re-cut the films when only scraps and fragments remained of masterpieces, leading to people being able to see many films that would otherwise be lost. He was also in large part as enthusiastic as a little kid with a new toy when it came to finding an old silent film from Murnau or Eisenstein or something from Jean Vigo and sharing his love with other people who would either go on to be filmmakers themselves (the 'New-Wave', to be sure, but also film historians), or the casual amirer of films. And another part was the museum he had built up like any other art museum, with the finest pieces of wares and artifacts (i.e. the original 'mother' head from Psycho), to invite film fans and even casual viewers to gorge on more than just memorabilia.

It then becomes bittersweet - at first sweet- to see his story unfold via many interviews with associates, friends, filmmakers (Chabrol, Roche, etc), and historians who knew how Langlois started small with passionate screenings in the 30s, then into a sort of resistance fighter for his films from the Nazis in the early 40s, and then finally expanding in the late 40s into the 50s to become the premier place for films that, unlike any other archive, were all inclusive for the audience. So, in a sense, we learn he was a filmmaker, but really as one who could make the films important and vital and presentable. He wasn't alone, as we learn throughout this entertaining look at his ups and downs of his career- we also see a bit into his personal life with his most close associate and love Mary, who was like a mother with tough love attached at times. Then, eventually, we see how he also had enemies, maybe as many as he had friends and followers, and somehow (he wasn't "executive" material of course, and because he was private and with next to no funding from the French government, near dirt-poor while scrapping everything for his non-profit organization) he got fired. It's amazing- on top of the previous footage of various film clips from the films he showed &/or directors inspired (Vigo, Godard, Meilies, Von Strernberg, Murnau, etc)- to see the revolution-style protests of his being fired by film directors and fans. It's actually, in all manner of speaking, inspiring.

But then the bitter part comes in seeing what Langlois was reduced to after being reinstated- taking professor jobs on cinema across America and Canada and France- just to get a little more money for the fledgling Cinematheque. All of this ends up being told through Langlois and the other interviews as something that is saddening, but there's still always hope and more films to be shown all the while. While towards the end director Jacques Richard has the film lagging in the section about Langlois and his work on the museum, overall he really delves deep into this wonderful man's life, and provides a great way in documentary form to introduce future film-buffs into what it means to really put yourself completely on the line for film. On top of this, what it means to be independent of the system and get your stuff shown through someone who wont brush someone off with a desire to display their art (the film the Dreamers put a good memory on the Cinematheque right at the start, though only briefly). Someone like Langlois, who was scruffy and boisterous and extremely intelligent and acute on anything film and preservation-related, also was great in how he wanted to look to the future just as much as looking to the past. Like any other print at the Cinematheque, this documentary deserves to be preserved too.

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