Pierre Laborie: Cinema or the breath of history

Readings of Pierre Laborie
By Natacha Laurent

While cinema was not the main topic of Pierre Laborie’s research, it nevertheless held an important and unique place in his scholarship, his career and his conception of history. Apart from his long-standing interest in Marcel Ophuls’ Le chagrin et la pitié (‘The Sorrow and the Pity’), he chose very early on to include films in his research universe, during a period when this approach was very unusual. Motivated by his desire to explore social complexity, he thus found cinema to contain an outstanding reservoir of concentrated representations. Fascinated by the process of producing animated pictures, he was a historical advisor for several productions, and this role prompted him to think about the gap between history and cinematic writing. Thus, cinema became his ally in his tireless endeavour to refocus on the stakes of writing history.

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