Thanks to the efforts of the Audiovisual Institute of Monaco, the Principality can now be seen as it was through the classic Pathé-Baby projector in these archives from the last century unearthed. Organised in partnership with the Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé Foundation, this exhibition is an incredible step back in time!
This fascinating journey into the history of the Principality is not to be missed. Until 29 December, the Audiovisual Institute of Monaco's latest exhibition will be availale to see at its cabinet of curiosities.
Back in 1922, Charles Pathé invented the very first iteration of "home cinema", the ancestor of Netflix, by selling the first model of the Pathé-Baby projector with its 9.5 mm format. It sparked a wave of small-scale fiction films and educational screenings.
Pathé Baby was also an easy-to-use camera that enabled Monegasque families to film their daily lives and "their" Principality of yesteryear. Amateur cineasts became chroniclers of their time as they filmed the events that marked the milestones of their existence. In addition to family home movies, the archive footage shows the urbanisation of the Principality between 1925 and 1970. Monaco's whole development was immortalised on film thanks to the Pathé Baby and the 9.5 mm cameras that followed!
While connoisseurs and those of a curious disposition will be spot some forgotten places, such as the old Place du Casino, Port Hercule as it was in the mid-20th century, or the Monte-Carlo Beach built just a few years earlier, casual visitors will be on the lookout for a glimpse of Monaco's most iconic locations.
All of these pioneering devices were available to buy at four outlets in the Principality, one of which - a store by the name of Riviera Photo – still exists today, at 22 bis rue Grimaldi, in the heart of the city.
Previously unseen fragments of life and history can be found at 83-85 boulevard du Jardin Exotique, at the premises of the Audiovisual Institute, which works to collect, preserve, archive, and showcase Monaco's cinematographic and audiovisual heritage.
Philippe Fitte pour l'IAM/ Clément Martinet