Los Angeles opens its Oscars museum, the capital of the 7th art’s first film museum

Los Angeles finally has a museum entirely devoted to cinema, the art that made it famous, and it was high time, said Tom Hanks Tuesday, September 22, welcoming the press for a discovery of the Oscars museum, before its opening on next week.

The city may host Hollywood studios and have dozens of museums on different subjects, from natural sciences to selfies, it had none dedicated to the seventh art. After decades of procrastination, the Oscars museum (Academy Museum of Motion Pictures) opens to the public on September 30.

“It’s important for Los Angeles to have a film museum”, insists Tom Hanks, member of the board of directors of the museum and himself holder of two Oscars. “We all know movies are being made all over the world, and they’re great. There are other cities with movie museums. But, with all due respect, this museum created in Los Angeles by the Academy of Oscars must really be the Parthenon of the genre “, he estimated.

The museum, located in the western part of the city, will be the largest museum dedicated to cinema in North America. It was created thanks to some 390 million dollars donated by Hollywood institutions like Disney, Warner or Netflix, and was designed by the famous architect Renzo Piano, who notably contributed to the Center Pompidou in Paris.

It is a former department store dating from the 1930s that he converted to accommodate the main galleries of the museum. There is added a metallic sphere housing the David Geffen cinema and its 1000 seats, which seems to hover above the museum courtyard.

“Don’t call it theBlack Star ! “, joked Renzo Piano, referring to films from the Star Wars universe. “Call it a zeppelin. A zeppelin to take you to another world”, added the 84-year-old architect.

The museum presents the visitor with a broad overview of world cinema, from its beginnings at the end of the 19th century to the present day. Among the iconic treasures on display are the costumes of Dracula, an orc from the Lord of the Rings, the amphibian of The Shape of Water and the legendary droids of Star wars, C-3PO and R2-D2.

There are also older pieces, like the Rosebud sled from the film Citizen Kane, considered one of the greatest masterpieces of cinema. Only three sledges had been built for the filming needs. Director Orson Welles was not satisfied with the first take in which the sledge is consumed in the boiler and wanted to repeat this scene, which ends the film. Only the third copy therefore survived.

The space reserved for temporary exhibitions will open with works by the king of Japanese animated films, Hayao Miyazaki, including a “tunnel of trees” inspired by his classic My neighbor Totoro and leading the visitor to flying castles and other preparatory sketches.

“We want to make known through our galleries the diversity of the international histories of cinematographic creation”museum director Bill Kramer told AFP.

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Los Angeles opens its Oscars museum, the capital of the 7th art’s first film museum

Hank Gilbert