Thursday, July 9, 2009

Classic Cinema Collections

We've been travelling for two months in Spain and France where we visited two museums that are musts for cinephiles.

The first is the Museu del Cinema in Girona, Spain. It more than lives up to its claim:
It is one of the few museums where you can journey through the 500 years of the history of images, seeing what were the predecessors and the origins of the cinema.
The museum's focus is on the evolution of technology. It has an extraordinary collection covering Chinese shadow theatre, camera obscura, lantern apparatus, optical boxes, early photography and chemical development techniques, still and film cameras and projectors, the first television and lots more.

The emphasis is on the story of the captured image, the development of the media, rather than on the content of films themselves.

Le Musée de la Cinémathèque française in Paris has a similar but smaller collection of apparatus on display. The early film memorabilia with related movie clips take the history of cinema a further step. It is not confined to French films as the name suggests but includes items from a range of countries. The focus is on the evolution of cinema in the first half of the 20th Century.
The skull from Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho, some of the gears from Chaplin’s Modern Times, the robot from Lang’s Metropolis, and Martine Caro’s dress from Lola Montès are just some of the rare pieces one can see in the permanent exhibition Passion Cinéma. The exhibition tells the story of the collection and preservation of what makes up France’s vast cinematographic heritage: films, props, optical devices, costumes, and archives.
If you get a chance don't miss either museum.

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