Jean Desmet Films on YouTube Channel EYE

1 July 2016

More than two hundred films from the collection of cinema exhibitor and film pioneer Jean Desmet can now be viewed on EYE’s YouTube channel. The Desmet collection in EYE was entered in UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2011. The selection is now collected on a playlist.

Jean Desmet (1875-1956) began his career as a fairground operator. He was one of the first film exhibitors to open a regular cinema in Amsterdam, which he named Parisien. Desmet became one of the foremost cinema exhibitors and film distributors of the Netherlands. He had an infallible instinct for what the audience wanted to see and bought many of his crowd-pullers abroad, eventually building up a stock of more than nine hundred films.

Most of the films date from the golden years of Desmet’s business empire, the period 1907 - 1916. The unique collection of feature films, travel films,  commercials and newsreels came to be greatly valued over the decades, in part because a great many films from the early days of cinema have not survived.

Owing to its great historical significance, the Desmet collection was placed on UNESCO’s Memory of the World Register in 2011. The collection not only comprises films but also artistically outstanding posters and Desmet’s original company archive. A surprisingly large part of the material is still subject to copyright, including photographs, posters and films that EYE cannot automatically publish. The 231 films which EYE has now placed on its YouTube channel largely belong to the public domain.

The playlist also includes links to the complete filmography and a dossier on Jean Desmet.

EYE-channel on YouTube.
Playlist Jean Desmet.