Archipels Nitrate

By Claudio Pazienza

Archipels Nitrate

‘Silent planets. Planets on which life expectancy is measured in seconds… How long does an image last?’ Made for the 70th anniversary of the Cinémathèque Royale in Belgium (now named Cinematek), Claudio Pazienza’s Archipels Nitrate offers a unique and poetic tour through a film collection. An homage to its representative personalities and its pioneering curator, Jacques Ledoux, this personal selection of moments is a reflection upon the physical and psychological ephemerality of the moving image. ‘Sometimes intact, sometimes scratched, faded, almost erased. Images by the thousands that run wildly, uncontrollably, into my mind’.

Archipels Nitrate


Pazienza’s superb cinematic essay compiles magnificent clips of many beautifully restored films, from the early Lumière pictures (1896) to a short film by Belgium filmmaker Olivier Smolders (1997). The film is a distillation of the history of film, mixing documentary footage with moments from the great directors of cinema, from Chaplin to Fassbinder. By combining scenes from disparate times, Pazienza poses questions such as ‘Why are these images so embedded, and why do they trigger others?’


With a splendid musical score that includes compositions by John Cage, Béla Bartok, Georg Friedrich Händel, Morton Feldman, and DAAU (Die Anarchistische Abendunterhaltung), Archipels Nitrate is a fascinating investigation into the memories of cinema itself. Winner of the Grand Prix, Montreal Film Festival on Art.


Archipels Nitrate


62 min. / Digibeta

Language: French

Subtitles: English

Screenplay: Claudio Pazienza

Cinematography: Claudio Pazienza and Vincent Pinckaers

Sound: Irvic D'Olivier

Editing: Julien Cointreau

Distribution: Kòmplot Films

Production: Claudio Pazienza for Kòmplot Films, RTBF, ARTE Belgique, ARTE GEIE