Four years in prison required for a film restorer after a fatal fire

The producer of Henri-Georges Clouzot’s Hell, which won the 2010 César for best documentary, Serge Bromberg, kept reels in a Vincennes building. His film stock caught fire in the summer of 2020, killing two individuals. The Créteil prosecution asked for a fine of 150,000 euros, along with four years in prison, three of which would be suspended.

The Créteil prosecutor’s office asked for four years in jail, including three suspended terms, against Serge Bromberg on Tuesday. Bromberg is a well-known film restorer who is being held accountable for the tragic fire started by reels of nitrate that he placed under a structure.

These old movie reels, which were illegally kept in a room beneath an eight-story residential structure in Vincennes (Val-de-Marne), caught fire on the evening of August 10, 2020, in the midst of a heat wave. Even though many locals were away at the time, the incident claimed the lives of two persons. The first, who was engulfed in flames, launched himself from the fourth level. The other was killed by burning.

On Tuesday, the victim’s daughter showed up at the tavern. “We will never be able to mourn the loss of our mother because her death was avoidable, she continues, her voice disturbed by grief. “She passed away in circumstances that were unbearably terrible. His final seconds haunt me, she continued. The former creative director of the Annecy Animation Film Festival is found guilty of homicide, inflicting injury on others without their consent, and risking their safety. He does not dispute his guilt.

He kept personal reels and those of his business, Lobster Films, which specializes in preserving, restoring, and distributing vintage films, in this chamber. The need to be refrigerated nitrate films were housed in a room lacking a fire alarm. The air conditioner hadn’t been used since 1998, despite some particularly hot summers, when the neighbors at the time ordered that it be turned off due to the noise.

A wall “The room had a firewall erected. It melted in thirty minutes after it caught fire. Investigators determined that the room held 1,364 to 1,935 reels, or 2.5 to 3.6 tonnes, at the time of the fire. The defendant calculated differently: 965 reels, 970 kilograms. “He says at the bar, “It’s a fact, not an estimate.

a grave miscalculation of the threat?

Serge Bromberg argues that this location was only intended to house a few reels before they were sent to the CNC (National Center for Cinema and Moving Image). The producer, who was regarded as an expert in cinematic history, was fully aware of the dangers involved with reel storage.

He burned a piece of film on stage for many years to the wonder of the audience in order to show the flammability of nitrate. These programs went under the name Backfire.

An illustration that worsens the position for the civil parties. “Me Missiva Chermak-Felonneau argues on behalf of a couple who lived in a studio apartment above the bar that they initially believed him to be a bit eccentric amateur who had lost his footing. “They were devastated when they discovered that the individual who started the fire was a professional and an acknowledged specialist.

Despite his acknowledgment of “a very major assessment error,” “a miscalculation,” and “a negligence,”

The 61-year-old defendant feels that the CNC owes him a duty to retrieve and store his reels. “He guarantees the bar that the CNC had never before refused to provide me coils. “Has it not occurred to you that a location in the middle of the countryside, an abandoned farm, might be used? the court’s president queries. “Serge Bromberg said, “The amount of nitrate was meant to be absolutely little. The prosecutor, who sought four years’ jail against him with three suspended, was unconvinced by his defense. A 150,000 euro fine was also levied against his business.

She claims that this fire “is the result of all its action, of all its omissions to comply with the regulations,” adding that there is “no fatality: all the ingredients were present for such an event to take place.” “. On Wednesday morning, the defense will be given the floor.

By Editor