Joseph Rytmann, the “Emperor of Montparnasse”

Disappeared in 1983, this self-taught cinema operator opened five theaters which offered films in their original version. A book looks back on his romantic life.

Claude Lelouch recounts that he saw Joseph Rytmann stop passers-by to invite them to see a “Essential film”. This cinema operator who died in 1983 was the“Emperor of Montparnasse”, he reigned over several dark rooms in the 1960s. The last, Le Bretagne, the third largest theater in Paris, is now managed by his daughter and sole heir, Benjamine Rytmann, 93 years old. Published thanks to crowdfunding, a book, Rytmann. The adventure of a cinema operator in Montparnasse *, by Axel Huyghe and Arnaud Chapuy, and prefaced by Lelouch, recounts the journey of a film lover whose life resembles a film.

Of Jewish faith, Benjamin and Rebecca, the parents of Joseph and his sister Anna, fled the pogroms in their native Russia and landed in Paris in 1907. Their youngest son was 4 years old. Two other children enlarge the family, Moïse and Hélène – who will be years later assassinated by her spouse, the philosopher Louis Althusser. For now,

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