Desmet - Fior di male, Courtesy of EYE Film

Desmet - Fior di male, Courtesy of EYE Film

Fleurs des champs - Courtesy of EYE Film

Jean Desmet - Courtesy of EYE Film

Le mystere des roches de kador - Courtesy of EYE Film

Anna Karenina - Courtesy of EYE Film

Le mystere des roches de kador - Courtesy of EYE Film

Arthème opérateur - Courtesy of EYE Film

Le mystere des roches de kador - Courtesy of EYE Film

Fior di male - Courtesy of EYE Film

Concorso di bellezza fra bambini a Torino - Courtesy of EYE Film

Fior di male - Courtesy of EYE Film

Fior di male - Courtesy of EYE Film

La Moda vuole l'ala larga - Courtesy of EYE Film

Patouillard a une femme qui veux suivre la mode - Courtesy of EYE Film

La Moda vuole l'ala larga - Courtesy of EYE Film

Rosalie et son phonographe - Courtesy of EYE Film

Rosalie et son phonographe - Courtesy of EYE Film

Rosalie et son phonographe - Courtesy of EYE Film

Rosalie et son phonographe - Courtesy of EYE Film

Ved Faenglets - Courtesy of EYE Film

Le mystere des roches de kador - Courtesy of EYE Film

Ved Faenglets - Courtesy of EYE Film

Ved Faenglets - Courtesy of EYE Film

L'Apiculture - Courtesy of EYE Film

When the Earth Trembled - Courtesy of EYE Film

The High Born Child and the Beggar - Courtesy of EYE Film

Constantine - Courtesy of EYE Film

The High Born Child and the Beggar - Courtesy of EYE Film

Rosalie et son phonographe - Courtesy of EYE Film

Rosalie et son phonographe - Courtesy of EYE Film

It All Came Out in the Wash - Courtesy of EYE Film

It All Came Out in the Wash - Courtesy of EYE Film

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Jean Desmet Collection at the Center for Moving Image Arts at Bard College

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On February 7 and 8, the Center for Moving Image Arts at Bard College will show part of the Desmet Collection named "Jean Desmet’s Dream Factory, 1906 – 1916". Belgian-born film impresario Jean Desmet (1875 – 1956) spurred the growth of a new urban film culture in Europe before and during World War I. Desmet’s collection of 35mm prints and related materials (including posters, handbills, correspondence, and other ephemera) is now a vast visual-historical archive preserved at the EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam. 

In 2011 the Desmet collection was inscribed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World register — one of the few film collections in the world to receive this designation. In association with EYE Film Institute, the Bard College presents six programs chosen from Desmet’s holdings, each event recreating an evening’s entertainment akin to what Desmet himself might have chosen with a mixture of genres, studios, and countries of origin. Films have been transferred to DCP format and subtitled in English.

About Jean Desmet

Jean Desmet was a cinema operator and a leading film distributor. He began in 1893 as a pottery vendor at carnivals and fairs. His father, an impoverished Dutch-Belgian trader, had just died, and as the eldest son, Jean brought in the family’s income together with his mother. After his mother's death, he remained active as a carnival operator, initially with a Wheel of Fortune and a toboggan-slide.

In 1907, he exchanged the toboggan for a traveling cinema: The Imperial Bio Grand Cinematograph. With this luxury cinema, he followed in the footsteps of the exhibitors Alberts FrèresAlex Benner, and Hommerson et Fils, who presented exclusive film programs in luxurious cinema tents. Desmet even went so far as to open up his well-equipped caravan to visitors – in exchange for payment, of course, because above all, Desmet was a merchant.

In April 1909, Desmet opened his first stationary cinema, the Cinema Parisien in Rotterdam. In early 1910, his film rental business became his most important activity. At West German film fairs, he bought complete film programs which he then rented out, including the posters, to Dutch cinema owners. Desmet also screened films in his own cinemas. Together with a number of relatives, he operated cinemas in cities including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Eindhoven, and Bussum.

 

 

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