Le Cinéma: cent ans de jeunesse

In the summer of 2009, BFI joined a film-making programme established by the Cinémathèque Française in Paris called ‘Le Cinéma, cent ans de jeunesse’.  These pages track the progress of the English participation in the project, which ran for the first time through 2009 into July 2010.  2015/ 16 was our seventh year of participation.

What is ‘Le Cinéma, cent ans de jeunesse’ ?

In 1995, the Cinémathèque Française set up a young people’s film-making programme to celebrate the centenary of cinema. The programme had a specific approach and working method which is still going strong 20 years later.  Firstly, all the young people involved in the programme follow the same process: to make films that respond to an aspect of film language.  Second, the programme is very tightly structured into exploratory exercises and the production of a final ‘film essai’.  The whole process takes between 30 and 50 hours, over two terms.  Thirdly, there is a comprehensive ‘viewing curriculum’ of clips taken from the history of cinema and from around the world. Fourth, each workshop is run by a film-maker and a teacher, each with particular responsibilities.

In 1995 the subject was ‘Lumière’: all participants made films in the same spirit, and under some of the same constraints, as the Lumière Brothers.

Over the next 15 years the programme grew to involve 25 – 30 workshop groups or ‘ateliers’ each year.  In the last few years workshops from Spain, Italy, and Portugal joined the original French groups, and in 2009 the BFI brought groups from south London into the programme.  In 2010 our first cohort of Lincolnshire primary schools joined, and in 2012, several groups from Edinburgh and Dundee, led by the Centre for the Moving Image at Edinburgh Filmhouse.  In 2013/14 there were 31 workshop groups in Scotland, and more in Lincolnshire, London, and Taunton.  By 2015/16, the international cohort had expanded to Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, and Belgium, and Brazil and Cuba.

The film language topics covered include ‘light’, ‘colour’, ‘figure/fond’ (foreground/background), ‘camera movement’, ‘hiding/revealing’, ‘real/fiction’, mettre en scene’ or ‘staging’.  In 2013/14 we followed with ‘plan sequence’, or ‘the long take’, and the year after it was ‘L’Intervalle’, or the gaps and spaces between characters, and between film and audience.  In 2015/16, the programme joined the international climate change conference in Paris, COP 21, by exploring weather and climate: ‘Le Meteo’.  In 2016/17 the focus was on ‘play’ in the cinema.  In 2017/18, the programme moved on to consider the relationship between ‘places’, and ‘stories’: how particular places can generate, or be associated with, stories in cinema.

Film-making groups in education settings in the UK are welcome to join the project by emailing mark.reid@bfi.org.uk.

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Launch of Places and Stories in Lincoln

We launched this year’s Lincolnshire edition of Cinema cent ans de jeunesse at Fosse Way Academy in Lincoln, on 1st November.  Below are the PPT we followed, and the sample SoW for the after-school version of the project.


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Launch of Places and Stories

Here’s the PPT, with some embedded clips, to support Places and Stories:

CPD launch

Here’s a print-only version of the PPT: CPD launch print

The CCAJ Vimeo channel is here:  https://vimeo.com/album/4770611 and the password is Places

And here’s a sample Scheme for following the programme over 20 weeks:

Sample SoW for Places and Stories

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2017/18 Theme: ‘Places and Stories’

This year’s theme is ‘Les lieux et les histoires’: Places and Stories.

The Cinematheque team are keen to emphasise that we’re talking about real places, not generic spaces.  There are two pieces of (optional) reading: some pages from Michel Foucault’s ‘Heteretopias’, and from Georges Perec’s Species of Spaces.

Foucault’s Heterotopias is the more relevant.  Alain Bergala’s typology of Places in film covers:

  • Places that are defined by their role in a story
  • Forbidden, dangerous, or secret rooms and other places
  • Places that exist in memory
  • Places that are revisited, that have changed over time
  • ‘Alternative spaces’, which ‘alternative communities’ inhabit, which are owned by ‘others’.
  • Memorial places: places dedicated to public memory

More concretely, there’s a list of places that can be drawn from Foucault’s Heterotopias:

  • boats, trains, (space ships) – vehicles that function as complete worlds
  • gardens – bounded places to which the world is brought, in plant form..
  • prisons, and other places bounded by rules and norms of behaviour
  • islands
  • fairgrounds, dance floors, games pitches
  • ruins, haunted rooms and houses, spooky basements
  • Places where ‘time’ is collected: museums, galleries, libraries
  • Mirrors – which frame ‘uncanny’ spaces – mirrors reflect real places but as not-real

The Vimeo list of suggested clips is here: https://vimeopro.com/user21775187/des-lieux-et-des-histoires  and the password is <Places>  When you click on each link, the category of the clip is at the bottom of the video window.

The Rules of the Game Word doc is here: RULES OF GAME Places and Stories EN



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Primary ‘Play’ Films

We’re listing below a selection of ‘Play’ films made by primary schools – from London and Lincolnshire.  There are some common features – children daydreaming their way out of class; magic portals to different realities – while all following the core brief to ‘Make a film where the story is interrupted at a certain moment, and the character finds their freedom through playing, allowing them to escape the confines of their everyday experience’.




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Strodes College

And finally, from this year’s secondary screenings, one of the four pieces shot by Strodes College.  Actually, the group shot one film, but each of four students edited their own version.  This one is by Pete Messum, and creates something really cinematic out of the footage.

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St. Mary Magdelene: Daydream

Joe Hoddy is moving on from SMM after – 9 years? – having been a great supporter and advocate of the programme for the past 5 or 6.  This year his A level Film Studies group followed the programme after school, with a beautifully shot 4 minute piece – a classroom-set reverie that takes its daydreamer out into the country – in this case a small copse in Oakwood.  As Stephi HD said at the screening, another country that asks for ‘acknowledgement’…

A special shout out to Emmanuel Karikari, who composed and recorded the music.

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London Nautical The Escapist

Three Year 8 students at London Nautical, supported by CCAJ alumnus Ian Blackburn, and teacher JP O’Brien, made a short entry to ‘Le Jeu’.  In the end, it was substantially the boy’s own work, with the exception of one shot taken by emerging documentary maker Mohammed Al Jabaly,

There are lovely bits of disguised magic in the film, with the boys climbing a wall in March, and going over the other side in June, and a great sleight of hand shot of the seaside taken on Thames Reach outside the Southbank.  And it has echoes of a previous LNS film – No Escape – what is it about students wanting to get out of school?!


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