Recognised for their richness and diversity, the Cinémathèque suisse collections bring together thousands of hours of films of all genres as well as millions of posters, photographs, scripts, letters, press cuttings, documents and cinematographic objects which are regularly the subject of exhibitions and publications.
In addition to its mission of preservation and restoration, the institution brings to light this unique heritage. As well as its extensive screening programme and the distribution of its restored and digitised films in cinemas, festivals and on streaming platforms, Cinémathèque suisse makes some of these treasures available online to the general public.
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Opening credits of the Swiss Ciné-Journal (1940) © Cinémathèque suisse
The Cinémathèque suisse allows the public to dive into the heart of its collections by making short films available for free access. These films are a journey through time, between nostalgia and humour, depicting Switzerland and its attractions (Rhine Falls, horse-drawn carriages in Saint-Moritz...) as well as iconic brands (Ovaltine, Caran d'Ache...) and the country’s history, thanks to historic newsreels. These cinematographic gems are restored thanks to the support of Memoriav, in partnership with specialised Swiss and European laboratories.
The Swiss Ciné-Journal
The forerunner of the TV evening news and a true witness to Swiss history, the Swiss Ciné-Journal, produced between August 1940 and March 1975, presented news on film. Initiated by the Confederation in response to the growing presence of foreign film news on its territory, the Swiss Ciné-Journal essentially broadcast national news covering the different language regions. A weekly issue was shown as a pre-programme in all cinemas in the country, in French, German or Italian.
The entirety of these documents of great historical, cultural and social value, totalling almost 200 hours of film - over 6,000 different stories - was in 1975 deposited with the Cinémathèque suisse, which has since held the rights of use. This priceless heritage, which was originally saved on acetate, is a valuable source for television stations, universities and historians. It was recently digitised and indexed in collaboration with Memoriav and the Federal Archives, making it accessible to everyone on the memobase.ch platform.
Objects of the moment
Cinema is a constantly evolving art form, in a perpetual state of flux. Documenting eras, personalities and know-how, all the objects in the collections are full of history: film posters, set photographs, letters, scripts, festival catalogues and even filming and projection equipment, all are important to film's evolution, which the Cinémathèque suisse brings back to life through online portraits and video capsules.