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Could This Home Movie Be The Only Film Footage Of Marcel Proust?

A scholar from the Université Laval in Quebec just unearthed the only known film of French author Marcel Proust, best known for his monumental work “In Search of Lost Time.” (It is interesting to note, for our purposes at least that Proust, though raised a Catholic and perhaps anti-Semitic and was therefore Jewish by birth.

According to an article in The Guardian, Professor Jean-Pierre Sirois-Trahan found Proust in a film of the wedding of Élaine Greffulhe in 1904. In the film, we see top-hatted men and gaudily dressed women descending a flight of stairs. Towards the end of the footage, a figure in gray donning a bowler hat shuffles quickly down the stairs and out of the frame. It is that markedly shabbier figure that scholars believe to be Proust. While scholars are not exactly certain whether that is actually Proust on the film, The Guardian quotes a number of excited (even downright giddy) scholars who seem to be sure of Proust’s appearance. “Because we know every detail of Proust’s life, we know from several sources that during those years he wore a bowler hat and pearl grey suit,” Proust scholar Luc Fraisse said. “It’s moving,” he continued, “to say to ourselves that we are the first to see Proust since his contemporaries… even if it would be better if he was descending the steps a little less quickly! It’ll be fine when we have slowed the film down.”

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