Chaplin Project / Cineteca di Bologna
The Chaplin studios’ and personal archives have been scanned by the Cineteca di Bologna in Italy, who to our great joy found sponsoring from The Fondazione Cassa di Risparnio in Bologna to set up a “Chaplin Project”.
The official catalogue and information site of and about Charles Chaplin’s very own and painstakingly preserved professional and personal archives, from his early career on the English stage to his final days in Switzerland, is available online: www.charliechaplinarchive.org
On this user-friendly site for Chaplin fans, researchers, academics, students, cinephiles, etc., it is possible to read all the scanned documents in the archive (except those the Chaplin office requested remain private).
Over 75 years of handwritten and printed documents, photographs and press clippings spanning the career of cinema’s most universal man and shedding light on how he worked, played and lived, but particularly how he worked. From the first handwritten notes of a story line to the shooting of the film itself, stage by stage documentary evidence of the development of a film, or a project that never even became a film. Poems, lyrics, drawings, programmes, contracts, letters, magazines, travel souvenirs, comic books, cartoon strips, praise and criticism, good times and bad… the vast online catalogue reveals them all.
The main task of the Chaplin Project is to preserve the paper and photographic archive left by the filmmaker but also to foster and encourage a permanent research activity on Charlie Chaplin and to establish the premises for a fertile ground where students, researchers and cinéphiles can meet and exchange ideas.
The original documents have been deposited in a special climate-controlled space at the municipal archives of Montreux in Switzerland, near Chaplin’s old home.
As part of the Chaplin Project, the Cineteca di Bologna has also worked on restoring Chaplin’s films and publishing books, such as Footlights / The World of Limelight and The Freak, La storia di un film incompiuto.
The Cineteca di Bologna also curated the exhibition, The Freak - Story of a Film, presented at Chaplin’s World from February 11 to September 24, 2023.
Besides digitising and cataloguing of the filmmaker’s paper archives, Cineteca has also undertaken the complete restoration of Chaplin’s works.
Learn more about the Charlie Chaplin Archive in this interview with Cecilia Cenciarelli, in charge of the research and special projects department at the Cineteca di Bologna.