Freddy Buache (1924-2019)

On May 28, Freddy Buache has passed away on the age of 94. Along with Jacques Ledoux in Brussels, Jonas Mekas in the States, Henri Langlois in Paris, João Bénard da Costa in Lisbon and Peter Kubelka in Vienna, Buache was a leading light in the history of film archives and conservation. In 1950, he co-founded the Cinémathèque suisse and directed the institution for almost half a century. In 2012, Fabrice Aragno, a collaborator of Jean-Luc Godard, compiled Freddy Buache, le cinéma (45’, see below) to showcase a day in the life of the director of the Cinémathèque. The film takes material from the archives of Radio Télévision Suisse (RTS), the Cinémathèque and “Cinéma en tête”, the 50 minute interview filmed by his wife, the journalist Marie-Magdeleine Brumagne (which you can watch in full on the website of RTS).

For the 500th anniversary of the city of Lausanne, Buache commissioned a film from his longtime friend, Jean-Luc Godard. His response was Lettre à Freddy Buache (1982, 11’), where he explains why he is not able to face an assignment like this. Buache provided the voice-over for the epistolary reply that arrived 25 years later, Lettre a Jean-Luc Godard (2007, 7'), a collaborative project with four filmmakers of a younger generation. You can read Buache's letter to Godard's partner, filmmaker Anne-Marie Miéville, along with another text of him, in the publication Sabzian compiled together with Courtisane, Pas de deux. The Cinema of Anne-Marie Miéville (2018).

Buache never stopped writing: essays and poetry, but also numerous film books on, among others, Luís Buñuel, the Nouvelle Vague and, most of all, national cinemas: Swiss, German, Italian and English cinema, two parts on French film in the 60s and 70s, and three chronological volumes on American cinema. Belgian filmmaker Boris Lehman included Buache in the second part of Mes Entretiens Filmés (1995–1998) and he also appears in a film by Lehman, À la recherche du lieu de ma naissance (1990), that Sabzian screened last March in the context of Seuls – Singular Moments in Belgian Film History.

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