Marie Gicquel, edited by Gauthier Delomez
modified to

09:27, October 26, 2022

The exhibition “Top secret: Cinema and espionage” presented by the Cinémathèque de Paris has cinema objects but also real spy gadgets, quite eccentric. Europe 1 wandered the aisles in search of unusual objects, from a rat loaded with explosives to a tie spitting out a small camera.


It took two years to prepare for this “top secret” event. To provide the windows for the “Top secret: Cinema and espionage” exhibition, with its chic scenography and subdued atmosphere, the Cinematheque of Paris turned to European museums devoted to the Army, but also to the archives of the DGSE or the STASI. On the menu of the most unusual gadgets, a trapped rat, loaded with explosives… “Everyone likes it a lot, it becomes the unexpected mascot of the exhibition”, says Matthieu Orléan, one of the curators of the exhibition. , at the microphone of Europe 1.

The trapped rat designed by the SOE.
Credits: Marie Gicquel/Europe 1

This trapped rat “comes from a military museum in England. We can easily imagine how it could be used, for example in a forest when you have to drop something, put a bomb, it’s a game between nature and nature. ‘espionage’, explains the commissioner. This rat – which therefore did not explode – rubs shoulders with a Bulgarian umbrella which propels poisoned balls, or the tie hiding a miniature camera.

Spies 3 (2)

Training of spies

These eccentric pieces mingle with extracts from films, James Bond credits and extracts from the series Homeland or Office of Legends. There are also photo series where models pose, with fur and sunglasses. Snapshots straight out of the STASI archives.

Spies 1 (1)

“It echoes the training of spies by image”, informs Matthieu Orléan. “The spies were trained either by watching films, mainstream films, or films made by the secret services, but also by photographs, photos of secret agents who are taught how to dress like a Westerner, a Russian, how to look natural with a hairpiece.” Spies will no longer hold any secrets for you and it is not uncommon to come across them in this exhibition… the DGSE has indeed lent a lot of objects!

The exhibition “Top Secret: Cinema and Espionage” is on view until May 21, 2023 at the Cinémathèque de Paris. Full price: 12 euros, reduced price: 9.50 euros, under 18: 6 euros.

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