The first episode of the documentary series Cinémas Mythiques focuses on the Éden theater in the French town of La Ciotat, the first cinema theater in history. Critic Alain Bergala explores the relationship of this city and this cinema to the brothers Auguste and Louis Lumière, accompanying another pair of filmmaker brothers, Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, on a tour of this and other iconic spots, such as the train station where the most famous train arrival was filmed.
Alain Bergala was responsible for the collection of films of the history of cinema called cinema “L’Éden Cinema” that since 2000 was available in French schools. He is also the pedagogical mentor of the educational project Le Cinéma, cent ans de jeunesse, conceptualised by the Educative Service of the French Cinematheque since 1995, that accompany students from all over the world in the creation of Lumière shots. Therefore, L’eden de la ciotat, documentary about the mythical movie theatre where some of the first screenings of the Lumière brothers’ films took place, has inscribed the complicity between Bergala’s career and the French pioneers work, highlighting an initial gesture inscribed in both their methodologies. That is the cinematic tension implicit in the staging of the real and what escapes that control. For this historical journey through the importance of a movie theatre which mirrors the history of the French 20th century, Bergala invites two other filmmakers whose work is influenced by the “lumièrian” dynamics, Luc and Jean-Pierre Dardenne. (Carlos Natálio)