Busan 2012: Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio Reveals World's First 'Home Videos'

The Nobel laureate appeared at BIFF to share rare Pathe projector films from his childhood.

Nobel Prize-winning novelist Jean-Marie Gustave Le Clezio demonstrated that old can be new again Tuesday at the Busan Cinema Forum, sharing World War I-era films from his own family collection to stress the importance of film preservation and restoration.

“These souvenirs to me are not only historical material but somehow I feel that no other film I have seen in my adult life equals the amusement and richness of those shorts,” he said about films such as Harold Lloyd’s 1920 Haunted Spooks (aka. Ghost Farm) among other silent movies that he had enjoyed at home through Pathe, the world’s first public projector.

Le Clezio said he had unwittingly contributed to the history of movie-going by organizing screenings for children around the neighborhood of his childhood home in southern France, and was happy to share the personal collection with the audience during a special talk.

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He added that while digitalization of films is practical, “it’s an electrical memory that is susceptible to being wiped out.” He jokingly added that “maybe one day extraterrestrials will come and wipe out everything but celluloid films (can survive)… I’m old-fashioned.”

The 72-year-old French writer is no stranger to cinema, with essays on Korean cinema, among others, and experience serving on the jury of the 2007 Cannes Cinefondation and Shorts section and BIFF’s New Currents this year.

He said he enjoyed all of the 10 films competing this year, noting “the selection of great quality and variety.”