Two of my favorite cultural institutions are celebrating this month their 20th anniversary.

I discovered the Internet Movie Database (or IMDb) about a decade ago. It immediately became my principal resource of information about the art of making and watching movies. I soon turned from a sole consumer into a contributor, writing short reviews about the films I was seeing, helping other people with information, participating in the discussions and even contributing with new information or fixing errors (this happens quite seldom, to be precise). I am approaching the 900 film reviews threshold which I should cross sometime in the next few months. For me IMDb represents not only a permanent bookmark on my browser, but also a confirmation of the power of the Internet into becoming a repository and media for information exchange for people from all over the globe united in their shared passion.

ARTE building in Strasbourg

The European channel ARTE is my preferred TV channel. If I would be asked to give up all other stations and keep just one I would keep ARTE. Beyond its exquisite cultural programs that include films, TV series, art, music, cultural actualities, music and experiments in all the arts ARTE is remarkable for two aspects – it keeps innovating the media of television to the point of turning it into an art, and it represents by the national texture of its team a symbol of hope – German and French television people work and create together, in a way that makes the hostilities of the past remote history. I can just hope and dream that some day the same spirit of reconciliation will prevail in the area I live.

It is no coincidence in my opinion that the two institutions were born about the same time two decades ago. That was the time when the technical revolutions in communications represented by the Internet and cable and satellite television was meeting the political revolution represented by the fall of the Communism in Europe and the breaking down of the barriers in communication and censorship. When technology and freedom meet nothing can stop the access of people to communication and culture, and the birth and persistence of the two institutions prove that access to communication and quality can definitely come together.

Happy Anniversary IMDb!

Happy Anniversary ARTE TV!