Friday 28 July 2017
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Israeli Early Cinema

Pierre Courtet-Cohl (1932-2008), a long-time member of “Domitor”, and an important contributor to the history of the animated film.

Courtet was the grandson of Emile Cohl (born Emile Eugène Jean Louis Courtet), the pioneer of animated cinematography, active from 1908-1921. Pierre lived with his grandfather, parents and a younger sister, Suzanne, first in Montmartre, then in the Paris suburb of Saint Mandé. After Cohl's death in 1938, and during the World War II, the family moved frequently about France before settling in the Paris region. Pierre Courtet eventually worked in the international export trade, dealing in luxury wines, perfumes, cosmetics and jewelry.  His mother had carefully saved the voluminous papers of his grandfather, as well as those of Cohl's mentor, the political caricaturist André Gill.  So Pierre was always aware of Cohl's work in the cinema and added the honorific "Cohl" to his own name.  After he retired from his profession, Pierre devoted his life to resurrecting Emile Cohl's legacy in numerous articles and lectures.  He aided many researchers, including the present writer, and generously allowed free access to the family's most personal artifacts.  He lent items on numerous occasions for exhibitions and festivals of early cinema.  Those who worked with him will remember him as friendly, passionate, and a very ardent spokesperson for his grandfather's patrimony.

At the time of his death Pierre was collaborating on an important retrospective at the Musée-Château in Annecy, France,”L'esprit d'Emile Cohl" (1 June-31 October 2008). Pierre's pride and dedication are evident in two recent works, an interview, "Émile Cohl raconté par son petit-fils, par Bernard Génin" (Sophia-Antipolis, Omniscience, forthcoming in 2008), and the article he contributed to the current issue of "1895" (no. 53), where he wrote of his work of assembling the documentation and films of Emile Cohl.  (The full text is available online at: http://1895.revues.org/ .) The Cinémathèque Française will screen a retrospective of Cohl's films 11-13 April 2008. For the program, see:
http://www.cinematheque.fr/fr/nosactivites/projections/cycles-cinema/cycle/C160-emile-cohl.htm.