Directed by Alain Resnais • Documentary • 1956 • 21 minutes
This recently restored early short by French New Wave director Alain Resnais (perhaps best known for Hiroshima Mon Amour), pays homage to the National Library of France. For centuries, the library has served as a repository for all the country’s publications, and more: Maps, prints, comic books, priceless manuscripts, gems, and medals all form part of the collection.
Much like Susan Orlean’s The Library Book, ALL THE WORLD’S MEMORY takes us on an impressive and impressionistic tour, from the reading rooms, to the stunning architecture, to the stacks and the physical plant. We also accompany a new arrival to the library – a recently published book – on its journey from reception to cataloguing to the moment it takes its place on a shelf, joining millions of other items that have made their home here for centuries. At the intersection of artistic and informative, ALL THE WORLD’S MEMORY is a unique look at the effort to catalogue as much knowledge as possible in one of the world’s great libraries.
Resnais would go on to make his mark in feature films, but this early-career short demonstrate an already keenly developed eye.
The film has been restored in 2K thanks to l’Agence du Court-Métrage and the support of the CNC.