Sun, Dec 16, 2018 - Page 5 News List

LA film museum to open featuring Miyazaki


The 1939 building facade that was restored to be the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures’ future home is unveiled by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Los Angeles, California, on Dec. 4.

Photo: AFP

Nearly a century after the idea was proposed, a museum dedicated to the magic of cinema is finally set to open in Los Angeles, with the first temporary exhibition devoted to Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki.

The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, slated to open by the end of next year, is to be devoted to the past, present and future of film, offering visitors a look behind the screen into how movies are made.

“Los Angeles was at one time and still is to some degree one of the major capitals for the production of film ... so it seems the natural place to have a major museum to ensure that the legacy of film lives on,” said Kerry Brougher, director of the museum, which is the brainchild of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Dorothy’s famed ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz, a copy of a script annotated by Gregory Peck for the 1962 drama To Kill a Mockingbird, the doors to Rick’s Cafe Americain from Casablanca and the typewriter used by Joseph Stefano to write the screenplay to Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho are among a trove of objects that are to be on display.

Designed by Italian architect Renzo Piano, the near US$400 million museum is to be housed in the Saban Building, formerly home to the May Company department store, and is to feature six floors that include exhibition spaces, a cafe, a store and a 1,000-seat theater.

“The museum will be a gathering place for film lovers and will invite people from all over the world to re-experience and deepen our collective love of this art form, accessible to all,” academy chief executive officer Dawn Hudson said.

“Like the experience of watching a movie, a trip to the museum will be a kind of waking dream in which visitors feel as if they’ve slipped through the screen to see how the magic is created,” she added.

Several Hollywood A-listers, including Tom Hanks, Annette Bening and Laura Dern, have been involved in the project, hosting fundraising events and drumming up support at home and abroad.

“It’s going to be a combination of the Louvre, the Museum of Modern Art and the Hermitage,” Hanks told reporters, referring to museums in Paris, New York City and St Petersburg, Russia. “Everybody who comes to Los Angeles will want to see what’s inside and they will linger for more than just a few hours.”

The museum is to open with a retrospective devoted to Miyazaki, whose animation masterpieces include Princess Mononoke and the Oscar-winning Spirited Away.

Apart from paying tribute to the genius of Miyazaki, the exhibition is also intended to reflect the global scope of the museum, Brougher said.

“I wanted to make sure that we came out of the gate with an international figure to show people that this museum isn’t going to be just about Hollywood or American cinema,” he said. “I was concerned that being in Hollywood and being part of the academy, the museum might be seen as being too much about Hollywood and the Oscars.”

Exhibition curator Jessica Niebel said that the retrospective, the first of its scope in the US, is to take visitors on a thematic journey through Miyazaki’s world and would include more than 200 concept sketches, storyboards and film clips, with the animator himself hopefully launching the exhibit.

“Animation plays a big part in the mystery of film and is sometimes overlooked,” Niebel said. “And Miyazaki is a genius ... and a filmmaker I admire, because he is making movies generally about life ... and what it means to exist in this world.”

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