Bernard Natan’s story presented as a world first at Romania Embassy in Paris

A documentary film saying the story of Bernard Natan, the Jewish director born in Iasi who is considered one of the French Cinematography’s founding fathers, was presented in world premiere on Tuesday night at the Embassy of Romania in Paris, in front of a numerous audience, according to a release of the Romanian diplomatic representative in Paris, sent to AGERPRES.

Over 200 guests attended the screening of the documentary titled “Bernard Natan, the Phantom in Street Francoeur” (Bernard Natan, le fantôme de la rue Francoeur). According to the release, this documentary is the first film production of France that is proposing to rehabilitate the image of the one who is considered to be one of the founding fathers of the French cinematography. The documentary comprises sequences filmed in Iasi and confessions of the two granddaughters of Bernard Natan’s in Paris, following on the one hand the contribution to rehabilitating the image of a cinema passionate, and on the other hand the highlighting of the long-lasting connections between his native city and France, says the ICR Paris.

Born in Iasi in 1886 under the name of Natan Tannenzapf, Bernard Natan moved to Paris in 1906. He fought in the First World War under France’s flag and was naturalised French in 1921. Bernard Natan has engraved his name for eternity in the history of the French cinematography – from a first studio open on the street Francoeur of Paris, he became the owner of one of the biggest networks of cinematography of France, the Pathé Cinéma.

In only five years, he has produced over 60 features, a volume similar to the American industry of the time, inaugurated tens of cinema halls all over France, encouraged the large public’s access to the cinema and carried out promotion campaigns to support the cinema production. But, the one who has exclusively filmed the Olympic Games of 1924 and the swimming record by the future Tarzan, Johnny Weissmuller (born in Timisoara), was to fall victim to large broad anti-Semitic defamatory campaigns and in 1942 he was withdrawn his French citizenship and was surrendered to the Nazi authorities, finding his tragic end at Auschwitz a few months later.

The event at the Embassy was organised in partnership with the Romanian Cultural Institute in Paris and marked in France the closing of the one-year term of Romania to the Presidency of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA). Among the guests invited in the event were Serge Klarsfeld, president of the “Sons and Daughters of the Jewish Deportees from France” association and member of the leadership of the Shoah Memorial of Paris, Radu Ioanid, director of the archive section of the Holocaust’s Memorial Museum of Washington, Françoise Ickowicz and Lenicka Philippot, the granddaughters of the born in Romania director, Annette Wieviorka, a specialist in the Jewish history of XXth century and research director at the National Centre of Scientific Research of France, representatives of the French televisions Ciné+ Classic and TV5 Monde that are to broadcast the film starting with May.

According to the release, this year are also foreseen screenings of the documentary at the City Hall of Paris (4 May), within the Cannes Festival, in collaboration with Ciné-Croisette (May), at the headquarters of the French National Archives, on the commemoration of the deportation of the Jews of France (September), at the Shoah Memorial of Paris and with the occasion of the Documentary Film Festival (November).

This documentary was made by Francis Gendron and produced by Label Video, in collaboration with Evasion Video and Metaction, with support by National Cinematography Centre of France, the Foundation for Holocaust Memory, Procirep, Ciné+, TVM and of Foundation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé.

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