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Tributes to Christian Dimitriu

Christian Dimitriu, Senior Administrator of FIAF (1995-2011) died in Lausanne on 10 April 2016. On this page, his colleagues in the FIAF community and beyond are paying tribute to his life and work. We will keep adding their messages as they come in. Send us your contribution at info[at]fiafnet.org.

You can find the official FIAF/Cinémathèque suisse obituary HERE.

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The Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film is saddened to learn of the passing of our longtime colleague Christian Dimitriu.
Christian was often the first familiar face one would see when checking in at a FIAF Congress or the opening session of a General Assembly. There was an easy sophistication about Christian and he seemed at home anywhere in the world. Christian's impeccable knowledge of the traditions, histories and protocols of FIAF was remarkable. If ever a question arose about federation procedure during debates, Christian would offer an immediate response with confidence and a hearty laugh.  He was a truly inimitable character. We offer our condolences to family, friends and FIAF colleagues of Christian Dimitriu.

The Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film

 

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I'm very sad for the abscence of Christian , he was a marvelous friend and companion since my first Fiaf Congress (Berlin!).
We'll miss him a lot.
Warm regards,

Juan Jose Mugni, Archivo Nacional de la Imagen y la Palabra - SODRE, Uruguay

 

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Para quienes apenas empezamos a asistir a los Congresos de la FIAF, Christian mostraba la extraordinaria calidez humana que estoy segura tuvo durante toda su vida.
Entendemos y compartimos el profundo pesar que deja su partida.
Nuestras sentidas condolencias,

Dora Moreno Brizuela, Cineteca Nacional, México

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J’apprends avec une grande émotion la disparition de Christian Dimitriu c’est  effectivement une triste journée . Son sourire et sa bienveillance vont nous manquer.

Odile Chapel, Cinémathèque de Nice

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It was with great sadness that we've learned Christian Dimitriu passed away, last Sunday. He helped so much in strengthening the film archives in Latin America. And his support was essential to the organization of the Fiaf Congress in 2006 - an important step in the History of the Brazilian Film Archive.

Olga Futemma, Cinemateca Brasileira

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Here at FOCAL International we were very saddened to hear of the death of Christian . He was a great figure in the film archiving world as well as a very charming person to know.

Sue Malden, FOCAL International

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I heard the news about Christian on Monday, in a Pordenone message from Paolo Cherchi Usai, which I read with a heavy heart.  Very sad news indeed.  Christian was such a wonderful person, a real internationalist, and he will be missed by the entire FIAF community.  For many over the years he was a charming host and active participant at FIAF congresses and meetings, and a caring nurturer of a wide range of archive activities around the globe, from new institutions to the formation of training programs such as the “School on Wheels”. I know many will miss him not only as a colleague, but as a friend.  I have many good memories.  I consider myself fortunate to have been able to work with him on the JFP and other projects; we had a good partnership.  Surely he will be commemorated and celebrated in some way at the FIAF Congress in Bologna.  I know he’ll be there in spirit.

A few random memories: Besides his many archive activities, so dear to his heart, Christian had so many interests, and so much zest for life and the world around him.  He was also a “people person”; a real observer, very sociable and genuinely interested in those around him.  A true citizen of the world, his friendships and travels spanned the globe. He was also an inveterate photographer and chronicler of his travels in the archive world. This encompassed not only archive staff, meetings, buildings, vaults, and excursions – I remember him once showing me images taken from the windows of airplanes and various hotels! A very cultured man, he was also extremely knowledgeable about music, from the tango to piano classics; one Skype call was enlivened by his suddenly playing the piano for me, and in typical Christian style his musicianship was impeccable. He was especially proud of having helped mastermind a memorable screening of Gance’s Napoleon in Switzerland, with Carl Davis conducting his epic score. Indeed, the recent music issue of the JFP can trace its roots to an enthusiastic proposal by Christian several years ago. He seemingly could converse about anything, with anyone, and could often be found at any gathering deep in lively conversation, a civilized art in itself. I once teased him that he should do a talk show, in different languages.  My husband and I even had a title for it: “Dimitriu’s World”.  What a feast that would have been – we think he would have been a natural. The film archive movement around the world has just lost one of its greatest ambassadors, and friends. A toast to Christian, everyone!


Cathy Surowiec, former Editor of the Journal of Film Preservation

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A Christian Dimitriu.

Gracias Christian por compartir tu entusiasmo con los archivos latinoamericanos y hacernos presente la importancia del esfuerzo regional para preservar nuestra memoria fílmica.

Gracias por hacer visibles a los archivos más pequeños de nuestra región y preocuparte por ellos.

Gracias por impulsar, junto con Ivan Trulillo, a través de la creación del programa Escuela sobre ruedas, el impulso a la capacitación para la preservación de nuestros archivos, que tan buenos frutos ha dado.

Gracias Christian por haber estado en nuestro camino y desde la Fiaf hacernos más unidos y más fuertes.

Guadalupe Ferrer, Filmoteca de la UNAM, México

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Antti Alanen sent us the following pictures of Christian and the members of PACC (Meg Labrum, Paul Klimpel, Elaine Burrows, Luca Giuliani, Antti Alanen, Patrick Loughney, Jon Wengström and Stefan Drössler), in Pordenone on 5/6 October 2009. Photos: Laila Alanen.

 

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C’est avec une tristesse infinie que j’ai appris la disparition, malheureusement attendue, de Christian Dimitriu, qui a été un ambassadeur de la FIAF durant de longues années. Pour lui, la FIAF était indiscutablement sa famille d’adoption. S’il n’en avait pas eu d’autre, c’est elle qu’il aurait choisi. Parlant plusieurs langues, navigant d’un continent à l’autre, s’adaptant à toutes les situations, c’était un aventurier des cinémathèques, un connaisseur des histoires officielles et non-officielles, un passionné bienveillant pour toutes les institutions en difficulté, et un grand amoureux du cinéma. Avec passion, il a su conseiller, guider, amuser tous ceux qui l’on approché. Je me souviens d’un personnage discret tout en étant original et toujours animé d’une énergie tranquille. Nous nous sommes connus alors que je travaillais à la Cinémathèque française, en 1986.  En trente ans Christian a toujours été un soutien, un conseil, un ami. Et je crois que nous sommes des centaines à pouvoir en dire de même tant il a donné de lui-même pour aider les autres.

Ta petite lumière ne s’éteint pas. Nous ne t’oublierons pas,  Christian.

Eric Le Roy, President of FIAF

Eric Le Roy & Christian Dimitriu in the FIAF office on the day of his retirement, on 18 July 2011. Photo Christophe Dupin

 

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Photos of Christian Dimitriu and the team of the FIAF Secretariat

 

Rutger Penne, Ivan Trujillo, Anthony Blampied & Christian Dimitriu in the FIAF office, 1998

Rutger Penne, Sonia Dermience, Gail Rubenstein, Jacqueline Renaut, Ghislaine Hubert & Christian Dimitriu in 2000

Rutger Penne, Baptiste Charles, Jacqueline Renaut, Christian Dimitriu & Gail Rubenstein in 2008

Christian Dimitriu, Rutger Penne, Christophe Dupin & Baptiste Charles during the Skopje Congress, 2014

 

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This is very, very sad news. I have many fond memories of Christian and will hold them dear for a long time. He was my FIAF host many years ago when I was invited to present a MoMA film program in Cologne. I came down with a sudden and terrible flu and he arranged for a doctor to see me. He also brought me chicken soup!

Warm wishes,


Anne Morra, The Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film

 

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One of the very first persons I have met when I moved to Lausanne in Autumn 1983 has been Christian Dimitriu. Followed a long friendship from which I would remember only one episode here. He organised on 20-22 November 1991 the "Séminaire sur la conservation et la mise en valeur du patrimoine cinématographique et audiovisuel en Suisse" at the Cinémathèque suisse, shortly before he has been forced to resign. In my opinion this contribution is highly underestimated and, not surprisingly, sometimes also actively forgotten. This is the very reason why I devoted my "Prolégomènes à la survie du cinéma: conservation, restauration et nouvelle utilisation de films" to him. I already miss Christian!

Reto Kromer, AV Preservation by reto.ch

 

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I used to be a member, but left Norwegian Film Institute 2008, which means  I must send my tribute via email, hoping that you will publish it on your website. It is with great sadness I received the news that Chistian Dimitriu passed away on April 10. When I joined the FIAF Board in 1999 (Madrid  congress) Christian was extremely helpful and generously led me into the FIAF family and it's written and unwritten rules and practices. Throughout my four years at the Board we developed both a professional and personal relationship , the latter lasted until just recently, however we lost contact the last few years. I had planned to pay him a visit this spring, which is a lesson to learn; never postpone getting back to old friends.

Vigdis Lian, FIAF EC member (1999-2003)

 

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I remember taking a break at a FIAF Executive meeting and coming out to hear the most wonderful piano music.  Someone was playing Argentine tango music and who should it be but Christian!  Like his ability to speak many languages he played with such ease as if it was second nature; it was an unexpected delight.   Christian was full of spirit and a love for life; and that is how I shall remember him.  

Sylvia Frank, Film Reference Library, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto

Christian Dimitriu in Beijing (2012), by Sylvia Frank

 

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C’est avec une grande émotion et tristesse que je pense aujourd’hui à Christian, une charmante personne, d’une extrème sensibilité et d’une courtoisie non formelle.

Je revois son regard questionneur et ironique, en m’écoutant m’efforcer de parler francais, lui qui comprenait sans doute bien l’italien, mais n’aimait pas le parler, peut-etre par paresse...

Ce jour où j’écris, le 19 avril, est d’autant plus triste qu’il est l’anniversaire de la mort de mon père Gianni, qui m’avait toujours parlé de Christian en termes de symphatie et admiration, et qui nous avait présentés lors du mon premier Congrés de la FIAF, à Jérusalem, en 1996 je crois.

Je suis réconnaissante à Christian et à Robert Daudelin, d’avoir publié dans le JFP de septembre 2005 un texte de mon père sur sa vie dédiée au cinéma, et d’avoir accepté d’ajouter, à ma suggestion, les noms des Membres honoraires de la FIAF décédés sur la page dédiée aux Membres Honoraires sur le site internet de la FIAF.

J’aurai aimé en savoir plus de sa vie, sa personnalité un peu mystérieuse, tous les lieux qu’il a traversé. Sur son intérêt pour Lope de Vega… Un des derniers messages que j’ai reçus de sa part en 2015 (toujours en avril) se termine par les mots “Sentiers, Ch.”. J’ai pensé (je pense) à une faute de plume (ou mieux de frappe clavier) au lieu d’ ‘amitiés’. En tous cas, ‘sentiers’ me semble une très belle expression pour prendre congé. Bon voyage Christian, bons sentiers.

Luisa Comencini, Fondazione Cineteca Italiana

 

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Au revoir Christian

J’ai l’impression d’avoir toujours connu Christian Dimitriu… Dans les faits, notre première rencontre date vraisemblablement du congrès de la FIAF à Lausanne, en 1979. Depuis, il y a eu tellement de rencontres, de réunions de travail, de correspondance, mais aussi de repas, de verres et de conversations à bâtons rompus, que le décompte devient impossible. Notre amitié, qui souvent fut aussi complicité, a beaucoup eu la FIAF comme lieu d’inscription; mais elle en débordait parfois. Ainsi, en novembre 2007, à l’occasion d’une visite éclair à Lausanne pour enregistrer un entretien avec Freddy Buache dans le cadre de l’Histoire orale de la FIAF, c’est Christian qui m’hébergea dans son coquet appartement du quartier de la gare. La première chose qui m’interpella en pénétrant en ces lieux, c’est un piano à queue qui occupait l’espace central de la salle de séjour. Christian ne fut pas sans noter mon étonnement et, sans même me donner le temps de poser mes affaires, il s’installa au piano et m’interpréta avec fougue, et un malin sourire en coin, un long tango. C’est l’image que je veux garder de mon ami: loin des tables de réunion, des rapports et des subtilités de procédures, le sourire de Christian Dimitriu, pianiste!

Robert Daudelin, Membre honoraire de la FIAF, ancien Président de la FIAF (1989-1995) et ancien rédacteur en chef du Journal of Film Preservation (1997-2011)

Ivan Trujillo, Robert Daudelin, Japanese author and film critic Shigehiko Hasumi, and Christian Dimitriu in Seoul, April 2002

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Now we grieve and pay our respects to our dear Christian Dimiriu with the verses of the song Smrti (Death), written by Bosnian poet Mak Dizdar:

The land is with deathly seeds planted,

But death isn't the end

Because there is no death at all.

And there is no end.

Lightened with death is only

The road of success from the cradle up to the stars.

 

Our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We will never forget his contribution and support.

Devleta Filipović, Kinoteka Bosne i Hercegovine, Sarajevo

Devleta Filipović with Christian Dimitriu in Beijing, 2012

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Christian Dimitriu fue mi primer contacto “oficial” con la FIAF. Él formó parte del tribunal que, en 2010, debía juzgar a los candidatos a dirigir la nueva etapa de la Filmoteca de Catalunya y allí me enfrenté a una larga batería de preguntas y comentarios que ponían a prueba mi capacidad para el cargo. Me consta que fui elegido por unanimidad y, desde entonces, Christian fue un colega y también un amigo. Coincidimos en diversos congresos de la FIAF, en Pretoria y en Beijing, donde ya acudió con las muletas con las que se enfrentaba a la enfermedad que ha terminado por vencerle pero sin perder nunca su buen humor ni esa ironía cosmopolita que definía su periplo vital y su trayectoria internacional. La última vez que nos vimos fue en mi despacho. Había venido a Barcelona en visita privada pero aprovechó para entrevistarme para su personal historia de la FIAF. Quería saberlo todo. Su curiosidad era insaciable y su pérdida será difícil de sustituir.

Esteve Riambau i Möller, Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona

 

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Christian’s special gift was friendship. He was loyal to his friends for a lifetime, even some from early childhood. He was loyal to FIAF, its mission and its people.  As an internationalist, master of languages, a lover of travel and people and the cinema, he had all the qualifications for his FIAF role. Thank you, Christian,  for your service to FIAF, and for your friendship.

Eileen Bowser, FIAF Honorary Member, former Executive Committee member (1969-91) and FIAF Vice President (1977-85)

 

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Christian Dimitriu was a special person.

He was a brilliant officer of the FIAF by several reasons. And one of them is definitely his incomparable gift of tongues and ability to get acquainted with somebody. I witnessed many times that he became friends only in a few minutes with totally unknown film curator/archivists who didn’t speak any of his fluent six languages, in Seoul, Taipei, Beijing and Tokyo. He could immediately memorize some versatile expressions of a new language – “domo, domo,” for instance, in Japanese – and could make his fresh friends laugh by using them without hesitation.

He sometimes seemed to be happily lost in translation in those cities and even enjoyed his being an innocent étranger there. We should be proud that FIAF had such a fair and devoted cosmopolitan as Senior Administrator for years.

I liked his very long telephone call from the Brussels office I received every weekend while I was FIAF President, and also liked the photos he sent me from his travels around the world. Below is one of them, shot in Tokyo. Neither I nor he was in it, but I can feel his eye gazing at that Ginza street. It is affable and somehow lonesome, like him and like a shot in Ozu films he truly respected.

Thank you, Christian – you were one of us.

Hisashi Okajima, National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

 

Street in Ginza, Tokyo, by Christian Dimitriu (2005)

Hisashi Okajima, Hongtaek Chung (Korean Film Archive) and Christian Dimitriu in Seoul, January 2002

 

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Recibo con gran pesar la noticia de la muerte de Christian Dimitriu, amigo y compañero insustituible en tantos proyectos comunes. Fue una persona clave para el desarrollo de los archivo fílmicos en general, y de los latinos en particular, capaz de afrontar y solucionar cualquier problema sin perder la sonrisa ni el buen humor. Lo recuerdo, y lo recordaré siempre, con gratitud y cariño. Hasta siempre, Christian.

 
Rosario López de Prado, Biblioteca Nacional de España / Filmoteca Española
 

 

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I was so sad to hear this news. My memories of Christian must start with our working relationship as it would have been impossible for me to function as Secretary General without his continuous help during the formalities of Congresses and EC meetings, as well as during occasional visits to the Secretariat in its offices in Rue Defacqz and in those long telephone calls that were his speciality. But such memories quickly give way to others. Many of these tributes have recalled Christian as a relaxed cosmopolitan, at home in whatever part of the world you encountered him, knowledgeable, charming, hospitable and friendly towards everybody. How right they are, and it is above all as a friend that I will miss him.

 

Roger Smither, FIAF Secretary General (1995-2001)

 

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Farewell, Herr Dimitriu, in yet another language you spoke.
Christian’s Tod macht mich sehr traurig. Es muss 2005 oder 2006 gewesen sein als ich, ein Junior-Curator im Österreichischen Filmmuseum in Wien, das erste Mal ‘Herr Dimitriu’ begegnet bin, zuerst via email, dann persönlich. Ein wahrer Rennaissancemann, wie viele KollegInnen schon bemerkt haben. Darüber hinaus ein polyglotter Europäer dessen Fokus immer global war. In Zeiten sich schliessender Grenzen und globaler Amalgamisierung reicht mir Christian’s Andenken als Erinnerung daran dass Film, in den Worten Gustav Deutsch’s “viele Sprachen spricht”, und dass FIAF immer Welt-Verband sein wird. Ich werde Dich vermissen.

Michael Loebenstein, FIAF Secretary General and Director, National Film & Sound Archive of Australia (Canberra/Sydney)

 

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Christian was the person who came to Nijmegen to check our Ivens foundation, whether we were serious enough and well equipped enough to become a FIAF associate. We visited the professional vaults, the nice office, and the devoted team in Nijmegen, but I think the wonderful terraces with Burgundian drinks and food gave the final positive push. The sun was shining and so we were.
A month ago, after I returned from Lausanne where I had attended the symposium on film archives and ciné-clubs at the Cinémathèque suisse, Tineke de Vaal asked right away: ' And was Christian present?' I said no, which was indeed a surprise, not knowing what happened to him. We were shocked that he passed away. In our view he was a 'bon-vivant', somebody who knew 'the art of living well' which is really an art, and not at all easy. It should be taken much more seriously, especially by serious people. And most of all: he shared this passion of living well.

André Stufkens, European Foundation Joris Ivens 

André Stufkens, Christian Dimitriu and Paul Spehr in Bologna, July 2009

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It is hard to believe that there will be no more discussions about FIAF; no more mails with photographs – greetings from another time; no more  coffee in Pordenone or Berlin while talking about friends; no more occasions to listen to Christian playing the piano – I will miss a dedicated, always friendly colleague.

Eva Orbanz, FIAF President (2003-2009)

Eva Orbanz and Christian Dimitriu both receiving an Honorary membership from the China Film Archive in 2012

 

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Many of us at EYE Filmmuseum have had the pleasure to know and work with Christian. I personally cherish warm memories of Christian as he was one of the first persons I met as a complete stranger/newcomer in the international archival community in 2007 at my first FIAF congress. Although he was very busy, he immediately took the time to explain in depth all the ins and outs with great expertise and also with great humour.
We all here in Amsterdam remember Christian as a warm, cheerful, knowledgeable and open-hearted colleague and we cherish the memories of the many occasions we had to talk and share ideas with Christian through the years.

We will miss you!

Sandra den Hamer and your friends at EYE Filmmuseum (Amsterdam)
 

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Tributes to Christian Dimitriu

Christian Dimitriu, Senior Administrator of FIAF (1995-2011) died in Lausanne on 10 April 2016. On this page, his colleagues in the FIAF community and beyond are paying tribute to his life and work. We will keep adding their messages as they come in. Send us your contribution at info[at]fiafnet.org.

You can find the official FIAF/Cinémathèque suisse obituary HERE.

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The Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film is saddened to learn of the passing of our longtime colleague Christian Dimitriu.
Christian was often the first familiar face one would see when checking in at a FIAF Congress or the opening session of a General Assembly. There was an easy sophistication about Christian and he seemed at home anywhere in the world. Christian's impeccable knowledge of the traditions, histories and protocols of FIAF was remarkable. If ever a question arose about federation procedure during debates, Christian would offer an immediate response with confidence and a hearty laugh.  He was a truly inimitable character. We offer our condolences to family, friends and FIAF colleagues of Christian Dimitriu.

The Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film

 

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I'm very sad for the abscence of Christian , he was a marvelous friend and companion since my first Fiaf Congress (Berlin!).
We'll miss him a lot.
Warm regards,

Juan Jose Mugni, Archivo Nacional de la Imagen y la Palabra - SODRE, Uruguay

 

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Para quienes apenas empezamos a asistir a los Congresos de la FIAF, Christian mostraba la extraordinaria calidez humana que estoy segura tuvo durante toda su vida.
Entendemos y compartimos el profundo pesar que deja su partida.
Nuestras sentidas condolencias,

Dora Moreno Brizuela, Cineteca Nacional, México

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J’apprends avec une grande émotion la disparition de Christian Dimitriu c’est  effectivement une triste journée . Son sourire et sa bienveillance vont nous manquer.

Odile Chapel, Cinémathèque de Nice

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It was with great sadness that we've learned Christian Dimitriu passed away, last Sunday. He helped so much in strengthening the film archives in Latin America. And his support was essential to the organization of the Fiaf Congress in 2006 - an important step in the History of the Brazilian Film Archive.

Olga Futemma, Cinemateca Brasileira

***

 

Here at FOCAL International we were very saddened to hear of the death of Christian . He was a great figure in the film archiving world as well as a very charming person to know.

Sue Malden, FOCAL International

***

 

I heard the news about Christian on Monday, in a Pordenone message from Paolo Cherchi Usai, which I read with a heavy heart.  Very sad news indeed.  Christian was such a wonderful person, a real internationalist, and he will be missed by the entire FIAF community.  For many over the years he was a charming host and active participant at FIAF congresses and meetings, and a caring nurturer of a wide range of archive activities around the globe, from new institutions to the formation of training programs such as the “School on Wheels”. I know many will miss him not only as a colleague, but as a friend.  I have many good memories.  I consider myself fortunate to have been able to work with him on the JFP and other projects; we had a good partnership.  Surely he will be commemorated and celebrated in some way at the FIAF Congress in Bologna.  I know he’ll be there in spirit.

A few random memories: Besides his many archive activities, so dear to his heart, Christian had so many interests, and so much zest for life and the world around him.  He was also a “people person”; a real observer, very sociable and genuinely interested in those around him.  A true citizen of the world, his friendships and travels spanned the globe. He was also an inveterate photographer and chronicler of his travels in the archive world. This encompassed not only archive staff, meetings, buildings, vaults, and excursions – I remember him once showing me images taken from the windows of airplanes and various hotels! A very cultured man, he was also extremely knowledgeable about music, from the tango to piano classics; one Skype call was enlivened by his suddenly playing the piano for me, and in typical Christian style his musicianship was impeccable. He was especially proud of having helped mastermind a memorable screening of Gance’s Napoleon in Switzerland, with Carl Davis conducting his epic score. Indeed, the recent music issue of the JFP can trace its roots to an enthusiastic proposal by Christian several years ago. He seemingly could converse about anything, with anyone, and could often be found at any gathering deep in lively conversation, a civilized art in itself. I once teased him that he should do a talk show, in different languages.  My husband and I even had a title for it: “Dimitriu’s World”.  What a feast that would have been – we think he would have been a natural. The film archive movement around the world has just lost one of its greatest ambassadors, and friends. A toast to Christian, everyone!


Cathy Surowiec, former Editor of the Journal of Film Preservation

***

 

A Christian Dimitriu.

Gracias Christian por compartir tu entusiasmo con los archivos latinoamericanos y hacernos presente la importancia del esfuerzo regional para preservar nuestra memoria fílmica.

Gracias por hacer visibles a los archivos más pequeños de nuestra región y preocuparte por ellos.

Gracias por impulsar, junto con Ivan Trulillo, a través de la creación del programa Escuela sobre ruedas, el impulso a la capacitación para la preservación de nuestros archivos, que tan buenos frutos ha dado.

Gracias Christian por haber estado en nuestro camino y desde la Fiaf hacernos más unidos y más fuertes.

Guadalupe Ferrer, Filmoteca de la UNAM, México

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Antti Alanen sent us the following pictures of Christian and the members of PACC (Meg Labrum, Paul Klimpel, Elaine Burrows, Luca Giuliani, Antti Alanen, Patrick Loughney, Jon Wengström and Stefan Drössler), in Pordenone on 5/6 October 2009. Photos: Laila Alanen.

 

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C’est avec une tristesse infinie que j’ai appris la disparition, malheureusement attendue, de Christian Dimitriu, qui a été un ambassadeur de la FIAF durant de longues années. Pour lui, la FIAF était indiscutablement sa famille d’adoption. S’il n’en avait pas eu d’autre, c’est elle qu’il aurait choisi. Parlant plusieurs langues, navigant d’un continent à l’autre, s’adaptant à toutes les situations, c’était un aventurier des cinémathèques, un connaisseur des histoires officielles et non-officielles, un passionné bienveillant pour toutes les institutions en difficulté, et un grand amoureux du cinéma. Avec passion, il a su conseiller, guider, amuser tous ceux qui l’on approché. Je me souviens d’un personnage discret tout en étant original et toujours animé d’une énergie tranquille. Nous nous sommes connus alors que je travaillais à la Cinémathèque française, en 1986.  En trente ans Christian a toujours été un soutien, un conseil, un ami. Et je crois que nous sommes des centaines à pouvoir en dire de même tant il a donné de lui-même pour aider les autres.

Ta petite lumière ne s’éteint pas. Nous ne t’oublierons pas,  Christian.

Eric Le Roy, President of FIAF

Eric Le Roy & Christian Dimitriu in the FIAF office on the day of his retirement, on 18 July 2011. Photo Christophe Dupin

 

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Photos of Christian Dimitriu and the team of the FIAF Secretariat

 

Rutger Penne, Ivan Trujillo, Anthony Blampied & Christian Dimitriu in the FIAF office, 1998

Rutger Penne, Sonia Dermience, Gail Rubenstein, Jacqueline Renaut, Ghislaine Hubert & Christian Dimitriu in 2000

Rutger Penne, Baptiste Charles, Jacqueline Renaut, Christian Dimitriu & Gail Rubenstein in 2008

Christian Dimitriu, Rutger Penne, Christophe Dupin & Baptiste Charles during the Skopje Congress, 2014

 

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This is very, very sad news. I have many fond memories of Christian and will hold them dear for a long time. He was my FIAF host many years ago when I was invited to present a MoMA film program in Cologne. I came down with a sudden and terrible flu and he arranged for a doctor to see me. He also brought me chicken soup!

Warm wishes,


Anne Morra, The Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film

 

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One of the very first persons I have met when I moved to Lausanne in Autumn 1983 has been Christian Dimitriu. Followed a long friendship from which I would remember only one episode here. He organised on 20-22 November 1991 the "Séminaire sur la conservation et la mise en valeur du patrimoine cinématographique et audiovisuel en Suisse" at the Cinémathèque suisse, shortly before he has been forced to resign. In my opinion this contribution is highly underestimated and, not surprisingly, sometimes also actively forgotten. This is the very reason why I devoted my "Prolégomènes à la survie du cinéma: conservation, restauration et nouvelle utilisation de films" to him. I already miss Christian!

Reto Kromer, AV Preservation by reto.ch

 

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I used to be a member, but left Norwegian Film Institute 2008, which means  I must send my tribute via email, hoping that you will publish it on your website. It is with great sadness I received the news that Chistian Dimitriu passed away on April 10. When I joined the FIAF Board in 1999 (Madrid  congress) Christian was extremely helpful and generously led me into the FIAF family and it's written and unwritten rules and practices. Throughout my four years at the Board we developed both a professional and personal relationship , the latter lasted until just recently, however we lost contact the last few years. I had planned to pay him a visit this spring, which is a lesson to learn; never postpone getting back to old friends.

Vigdis Lian, FIAF EC member (1999-2003)

 

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I remember taking a break at a FIAF Executive meeting and coming out to hear the most wonderful piano music.  Someone was playing Argentine tango music and who should it be but Christian!  Like his ability to speak many languages he played with such ease as if it was second nature; it was an unexpected delight.   Christian was full of spirit and a love for life; and that is how I shall remember him.  

Sylvia Frank, Film Reference Library, TIFF Bell Lightbox, Toronto

Christian Dimitriu in Beijing (2012), by Sylvia Frank

 

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C’est avec une grande émotion et tristesse que je pense aujourd’hui à Christian, une charmante personne, d’une extrème sensibilité et d’une courtoisie non formelle.

Je revois son regard questionneur et ironique, en m’écoutant m’efforcer de parler francais, lui qui comprenait sans doute bien l’italien, mais n’aimait pas le parler, peut-etre par paresse...

Ce jour où j’écris, le 19 avril, est d’autant plus triste qu’il est l’anniversaire de la mort de mon père Gianni, qui m’avait toujours parlé de Christian en termes de symphatie et admiration, et qui nous avait présentés lors du mon premier Congrés de la FIAF, à Jérusalem, en 1996 je crois.

Je suis réconnaissante à Christian et à Robert Daudelin, d’avoir publié dans le JFP de septembre 2005 un texte de mon père sur sa vie dédiée au cinéma, et d’avoir accepté d’ajouter, à ma suggestion, les noms des Membres honoraires de la FIAF décédés sur la page dédiée aux Membres Honoraires sur le site internet de la FIAF.

J’aurai aimé en savoir plus de sa vie, sa personnalité un peu mystérieuse, tous les lieux qu’il a traversé. Sur son intérêt pour Lope de Vega… Un des derniers messages que j’ai reçus de sa part en 2015 (toujours en avril) se termine par les mots “Sentiers, Ch.”. J’ai pensé (je pense) à une faute de plume (ou mieux de frappe clavier) au lieu d’ ‘amitiés’. En tous cas, ‘sentiers’ me semble une très belle expression pour prendre congé. Bon voyage Christian, bons sentiers.

Luisa Comencini, Fondazione Cineteca Italiana

 

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Au revoir Christian

J’ai l’impression d’avoir toujours connu Christian Dimitriu… Dans les faits, notre première rencontre date vraisemblablement du congrès de la FIAF à Lausanne, en 1979. Depuis, il y a eu tellement de rencontres, de réunions de travail, de correspondance, mais aussi de repas, de verres et de conversations à bâtons rompus, que le décompte devient impossible. Notre amitié, qui souvent fut aussi complicité, a beaucoup eu la FIAF comme lieu d’inscription; mais elle en débordait parfois. Ainsi, en novembre 2007, à l’occasion d’une visite éclair à Lausanne pour enregistrer un entretien avec Freddy Buache dans le cadre de l’Histoire orale de la FIAF, c’est Christian qui m’hébergea dans son coquet appartement du quartier de la gare. La première chose qui m’interpella en pénétrant en ces lieux, c’est un piano à queue qui occupait l’espace central de la salle de séjour. Christian ne fut pas sans noter mon étonnement et, sans même me donner le temps de poser mes affaires, il s’installa au piano et m’interpréta avec fougue, et un malin sourire en coin, un long tango. C’est l’image que je veux garder de mon ami: loin des tables de réunion, des rapports et des subtilités de procédures, le sourire de Christian Dimitriu, pianiste!

Robert Daudelin, Membre honoraire de la FIAF, ancien Président de la FIAF (1989-1995) et ancien rédacteur en chef du Journal of Film Preservation (1997-2011)

Ivan Trujillo, Robert Daudelin, Japanese author and film critic Shigehiko Hasumi, and Christian Dimitriu in Seoul, April 2002

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Now we grieve and pay our respects to our dear Christian Dimiriu with the verses of the song Smrti (Death), written by Bosnian poet Mak Dizdar:

The land is with deathly seeds planted,

But death isn't the end

Because there is no death at all.

And there is no end.

Lightened with death is only

The road of success from the cradle up to the stars.

 

Our deepest condolences to his family and friends. We will never forget his contribution and support.

Devleta Filipović, Kinoteka Bosne i Hercegovine, Sarajevo

Devleta Filipović with Christian Dimitriu in Beijing, 2012

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Christian Dimitriu fue mi primer contacto “oficial” con la FIAF. Él formó parte del tribunal que, en 2010, debía juzgar a los candidatos a dirigir la nueva etapa de la Filmoteca de Catalunya y allí me enfrenté a una larga batería de preguntas y comentarios que ponían a prueba mi capacidad para el cargo. Me consta que fui elegido por unanimidad y, desde entonces, Christian fue un colega y también un amigo. Coincidimos en diversos congresos de la FIAF, en Pretoria y en Beijing, donde ya acudió con las muletas con las que se enfrentaba a la enfermedad que ha terminado por vencerle pero sin perder nunca su buen humor ni esa ironía cosmopolita que definía su periplo vital y su trayectoria internacional. La última vez que nos vimos fue en mi despacho. Había venido a Barcelona en visita privada pero aprovechó para entrevistarme para su personal historia de la FIAF. Quería saberlo todo. Su curiosidad era insaciable y su pérdida será difícil de sustituir.

Esteve Riambau i Möller, Filmoteca de Catalunya, Barcelona

 

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Christian’s special gift was friendship. He was loyal to his friends for a lifetime, even some from early childhood. He was loyal to FIAF, its mission and its people.  As an internationalist, master of languages, a lover of travel and people and the cinema, he had all the qualifications for his FIAF role. Thank you, Christian,  for your service to FIAF, and for your friendship.

Eileen Bowser, FIAF Honorary Member, former Executive Committee member (1969-91) and FIAF Vice President (1977-85)

 

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Christian Dimitriu was a special person.

He was a brilliant officer of the FIAF by several reasons. And one of them is definitely his incomparable gift of tongues and ability to get acquainted with somebody. I witnessed many times that he became friends only in a few minutes with totally unknown film curator/archivists who didn’t speak any of his fluent six languages, in Seoul, Taipei, Beijing and Tokyo. He could immediately memorize some versatile expressions of a new language – “domo, domo,” for instance, in Japanese – and could make his fresh friends laugh by using them without hesitation.

He sometimes seemed to be happily lost in translation in those cities and even enjoyed his being an innocent étranger there. We should be proud that FIAF had such a fair and devoted cosmopolitan as Senior Administrator for years.

I liked his very long telephone call from the Brussels office I received every weekend while I was FIAF President, and also liked the photos he sent me from his travels around the world. Below is one of them, shot in Tokyo. Neither I nor he was in it, but I can feel his eye gazing at that Ginza street. It is affable and somehow lonesome, like him and like a shot in Ozu films he truly respected.

Thank you, Christian – you were one of us.

Hisashi Okajima, National Film Center, The National Museum of Modern Art, Tokyo

 

Street in Ginza, Tokyo, by Christian Dimitriu (2005)

Hisashi Okajima, Hongtaek Chung (Korean Film Archive) and Christian Dimitriu in Seoul, January 2002

 

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Recibo con gran pesar la noticia de la muerte de Christian Dimitriu, amigo y compañero insustituible en tantos proyectos comunes. Fue una persona clave para el desarrollo de los archivo fílmicos en general, y de los latinos en particular, capaz de afrontar y solucionar cualquier problema sin perder la sonrisa ni el buen humor. Lo recuerdo, y lo recordaré siempre, con gratitud y cariño. Hasta siempre, Christian.

 
Rosario López de Prado, Biblioteca Nacional de España / Filmoteca Española
 

 

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I was so sad to hear this news. My memories of Christian must start with our working relationship as it would have been impossible for me to function as Secretary General without his continuous help during the formalities of Congresses and EC meetings, as well as during occasional visits to the Secretariat in its offices in Rue Defacqz and in those long telephone calls that were his speciality. But such memories quickly give way to others. Many of these tributes have recalled Christian as a relaxed cosmopolitan, at home in whatever part of the world you encountered him, knowledgeable, charming, hospitable and friendly towards everybody. How right they are, and it is above all as a friend that I will miss him.

 

Roger Smither, FIAF Secretary General (1995-2001)

 

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Farewell, Herr Dimitriu, in yet another language you spoke.
Christian’s Tod macht mich sehr traurig. Es muss 2005 oder 2006 gewesen sein als ich, ein Junior-Curator im Österreichischen Filmmuseum in Wien, das erste Mal ‘Herr Dimitriu’ begegnet bin, zuerst via email, dann persönlich. Ein wahrer Rennaissancemann, wie viele KollegInnen schon bemerkt haben. Darüber hinaus ein polyglotter Europäer dessen Fokus immer global war. In Zeiten sich schliessender Grenzen und globaler Amalgamisierung reicht mir Christian’s Andenken als Erinnerung daran dass Film, in den Worten Gustav Deutsch’s “viele Sprachen spricht”, und dass FIAF immer Welt-Verband sein wird. Ich werde Dich vermissen.

Michael Loebenstein, FIAF Secretary General and Director, National Film & Sound Archive of Australia (Canberra/Sydney)

 

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Christian was the person who came to Nijmegen to check our Ivens foundation, whether we were serious enough and well equipped enough to become a FIAF associate. We visited the professional vaults, the nice office, and the devoted team in Nijmegen, but I think the wonderful terraces with Burgundian drinks and food gave the final positive push. The sun was shining and so we were.
A month ago, after I returned from Lausanne where I had attended the symposium on film archives and ciné-clubs at the Cinémathèque suisse, Tineke de Vaal asked right away: ' And was Christian present?' I said no, which was indeed a surprise, not knowing what happened to him. We were shocked that he passed away. In our view he was a 'bon-vivant', somebody who knew 'the art of living well' which is really an art, and not at all easy. It should be taken much more seriously, especially by serious people. And most of all: he shared this passion of living well.

André Stufkens, European Foundation Joris Ivens 

André Stufkens, Christian Dimitriu and Paul Spehr in Bologna, July 2009

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It is hard to believe that there will be no more discussions about FIAF; no more mails with photographs – greetings from another time; no more  coffee in Pordenone or Berlin while talking about friends; no more occasions to listen to Christian playing the piano – I will miss a dedicated, always friendly colleague.

Eva Orbanz, FIAF President (2003-2009)

Eva Orbanz and Christian Dimitriu both receiving an Honorary membership from the China Film Archive in 2012

 

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Many of us at EYE Filmmuseum have had the pleasure to know and work with Christian. I personally cherish warm memories of Christian as he was one of the first persons I met as a complete stranger/newcomer in the international archival community in 2007 at my first FIAF congress. Although he was very busy, he immediately took the time to explain in depth all the ins and outs with great expertise and also with great humour.
We all here in Amsterdam remember Christian as a warm, cheerful, knowledgeable and open-hearted colleague and we cherish the memories of the many occasions we had to talk and share ideas with Christian through the years.

We will miss you!

Sandra den Hamer and your friends at EYE Filmmuseum (Amsterdam)
 

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