Monday 19 September 2016

A Cinematheque for Sydney - Tina Kaufman retrieves some historical commentary

La Cinematheque francaise
Tina Kaufman, long time observer and commentator on Sydney matters has read the recent posts from Barrie Pattison and Paul Harris and drawn attention to a piece she wrote headed A Cinematheque for Sydney. It appeared in the November 2011 issue of the arts review Real Time.  

The final para of the report reads as follows: This is what a cinematheque promises; the question is, will it actually happen this time? A friend of mine, who has been through or observed several past campaigns, was recently heard to mutter, “don’t hold your breath.” I would prefer to be positive, but I do have some concerns. First of all, why this insistence on being beside the Harbour? The attractions should be inside, on the screen, not the view. Surely the best location would be somewhere central; the more easily accessible the better, I would have thought. ACMI, on Melbourne’s Federation Square, has the sort of central city location that seems ideal. And while Barangaroo might have much to offer, just how long will it actually take to come into being? Sydneysiders are notoriously fickle; a cinematheque, starting from scratch, is going to need all the help it can get to attract and build the sort of loyal and committed audience it will need. I can only hope there are enough cinephiles out there, people who, like me, still want to explore that promised land of cinema.

Five years on nothing has happened though if you read the recent piece by Gary Maddox in the Sydney Morning Herald Sydney was just buzzing with cinephiliac things to do. You can read Tina’s report if you click here. It’s very dispiriting reading, especially as Tina also mentions another venue, Canberra’s ARC cinema, now a shadow of its former self in the days before the NFSA slashed around 25% of its staff and severely reduced its services. 

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