Magazine article Journal of Film Preservation

A New Film Museum in Düsseldorf

Magazine article Journal of Film Preservation

A New Film Museum in Düsseldorf

Article excerpt

After film archives have been established all over the world for the last 50-60 years the time now seems to have come for film museums. During the last 10-15 years film museums have appeared in Europe and the United States, with MOMI in London as the climax of the movement, replacing the earlier traditional exhibitions of old apparatus and memorabilia in the mausoleum-style of for instance Henri Langlois' Paris-Museum.

Whether the rise of film museums are due to a growing interest in the history of the cinema, which Giornate del Cinema Muto in Pordenone might be proof of, or if it is caused by the general boom in museums and the tendency to turn museums into entertainment centers in order to attract a young audience and the growing number of people with too much spare time because of retirement or unemployment, is a question to be answered in quite different ways.

Many film archives have plans for film museums, waiting for better times in economical terms to be realized. But in Germany they just did it and on August 21st opened the third film museum in the recently unified nation. After Potsdam and Frankfurt, Düsseldof now has a Filmmuseum as a department of Filminstitut Düsseldorf. Why in Düsseldorf? It is the birthplace of Helmut Kàutner and the first German city in which opened an Asta Nielsen-cinema (in 1911). But one cannot claim that the charming city played a major role in the development of the German cinema.

Since 1979 Dusseldorf has had a very active Filminstitut and a crowd of energetic and enthusiastic people, not only in the institute but also behind it in the city's cultural administration, which is more remarkable and unique, and they have long dreamed of establishing a film museum. And now it stands there. In a new building, shared with the fine Hetjens-Museum of ceramics. In the middle of the old town, near to the Rhine, in charming surroundings. The Filmmuseum covers 2200m2 and the Landesregierung Nordrhein-West-falen has contributed with 6,4 million DM to the realization of this museum.

The heart of a filmmuseum is the cinema, as was said in the speech of the Kulturminister at the inauguraion, and the heart of the Dusseldorfer Filmmuseum has been beating before it opened. In the building nearby, where the offices of the Filminstitut still are. But now the heart.called Black Box, has been transplanted to the museum and you enter from the ground floor. …

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