Many of you may already know the Cinematek. Perhaps you’ve got a showing of an old classic, or were piqued by an 80s action movie marathon, but you may be surprised to hear that the publicly owned and operated Cinematek, couched in under the Bozar, is one of the largest film archives in the world.
The cinematek, originally known as the La Cinémathèque royale de Belgique/Koninklijk Belgisch Filmarchief, was founded in 1938 to document this relatively new art form. By 199è it had grown to encompass over 35,000 films, and was named the largest film archive in Europe. Their collection encompases many different media, and their in lies one of the key challenges of maintaining such a large archives.
Their stated aim is to acquire and preserve these cultural relics, and as such a team is responsible for the preservation of every piece that belongs to the archives. Without public support this simply wouldn’t be possible.
The Cinematek does generate some income by showing films. Their program is generally made up of themed showings, and this season has everything ranging from Lee Marvin and Chuck Norris to Early 20th century silent films from Russia. Prices are reasonable, the theatre is impeccably well kept, and the staff are friendly if deferential. The location is fantastic, there’s a classic Belgian Zomerbar just out the door and it’s not uncommon to catch a food truck on a busy friday night catering to patrons of the Bozar.