Nicolas Philibert: La ville Louvre

Produced 20 years ago, this masterpiece of Nicolas Philibert is as fresh as on the day of release. It is a fascinating look at what happens behind the scene at the magnificent museum in Paris. At the end of the film Philibert summarises what was his intention, by showing a long sequence of faces of some of the people, the viewer meets in the film. Yes, he is after people and what people do in an adventurous and sometimes mysterious place like Louvre where he (also) takes us underground to all the art works that wait to be exhibited or never reaches the exhibition area. It is transport, cleaning, restoring and conserving, and guarding, and playing boule on Rue de Rivoli next to the museum, measuring, planning the placement of the paintings in a room before the opening. And so on and so forth, several magical moments, lots of humour, all born by a fascination from the side of the film team. And you sense the director’s écriture right away, as you know it from La Moindre des Choses, Le pays des sourds, Etre et Avoir…

Philibert wast originally only hired to film one of the complicated transports, but stayed in the museum for another 3 weeks filming without any permission before getting this, and a producer and financing… I wanted to avoid bureaucracy, Philibert says in the bonus interview on the dvd (Éditions Montparnasse). Nobody actually had problems with us hanging around, as they already knew us. The film is a beauty because of the constant thinking in images, and the total concentration, as he also says is needed, to be ready to catch important moments, and film small stories that in the final film is cut in the way that you leave a theme and some people to come back to them later.

The film will be shown saturday April 25 on ARTE in connection with the Theme Day dedicated to the 20 years of the Louvre pyramid.

France, 1989, 82 mins.

Share your love
Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

Articles: 3866