Library of Congress – Packard Campus


It’s going to take me at least a week to unpack my fantastic trip to Virginia but I thought I’d start with a little reflection on the screening room at the Library of Congress Packard Campus where I was treated to 35mm reels of Shaft and the French Connection in their amazing 205 seat screening room.


The Packard Campus of the National Audio-Visual Conservation Center is where the Library of Congress acquires, preserves and provides access to the world’s largest and most comprehensive collection of films, television programs, radio broadcasts, and sound recordings.

The Campus has globally unprecedented capacity for the preservation reformatting of all audiovisual media formats (including obsolete formats dating back 100 years) and their long-term safekeeping in a massive digital storage archives.

At 415,000 square feet, it has more than 90 miles of shelving for collections storage, 35 climate controlled vaults for sound recording, safety film, and videotape, and 124 vaults of flammable nitrate film.

This campus is an incredible resource featuring ongoing programs and screenings that are free to the public.  If I was a betting man, I would put my money on the sure bet that you can expect to hear more great things coming out of this campus in the coming months.

I was lucky enough to catch 2 films at the Packard Campus with Giulia Forsythe, Alan Levine, and Jim Groom.  Although Shaft was great fun (with the soundtrack sounding particularly fantastic in the screening room) I got a huge charge out of pristine 35mm copy of The French Connection.  I saw this gritty, fast-paced detective flick for the first time in the 90’s and revisiting it reminded me of just how much I love this film.  My long standing all-time favorite car chase has been supplanted by Popeye’s Grand Theft Auto style, police emergency vehicle confiscation, one-way street race with a runaway Brooklyn subway.  Turns out the filming of this chase has its own amazing story.

In tribute to this brilliant piece of cinema I submit a couple of my favorite scenes in animated gifs.




4 thoughts on “Library of Congress – Packard Campus

  1. One of the great film experiences of al time, and the intro to the film by the archivist, the recognition of a life, and the sense of occasion of all being in the same big auditorium locking in for a film made it that much greater. A privilege to share it with you.

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