Mini MOMI

Thirty years or so ago, the Museum of the Moving Image opened on London’s South Bank. Funded privately then operated by the British Film Institute, the museum traced the history of motion pictures from ‘pre-cinema’ days to the blockbusters of 1988. It was notable for the many rare and unique objects on show, for theRead More

Masks and faces

Rolling Thunder Revue: A Bob Dylan Story by Martin Scorsese, newly released theatrically and on Netflix, opens with a film by Georges Méliès. Escamotage d’une dame chez Robert-Houdin (1896), known in English as The Vanishing Lady, features Méliès in his familiar role as a magician, placing a woman (Jehanne d’Alcy) under a cloth and, throughRead More

Hidden colours

The past did not take place in black-and-white, but many of the technologies for documenting that past when it was present operated in that way. But in our age of never-ending marvels we can right the egregious errors of such out-moded systems. So it is that the colourisation of black-and-white actuality films and photographs hasRead More

Time travel

Currently running at the Bruce Castle Museum in Haringey, north London, from April to July 2019, is a small exhibition on local film pioneer Robert Paul (1869-1943). Entitled Animatograph! How cinema was born in Haringey it traces the one small corner of the achievements of a man who, looking back on his life might haveRead More

Memories of a film

The other day I watched Moonstruck, the 1987 film set among the Italian-American community of New York, starring Cher and Nicolas Cage. It’s a delightful production, which scarcely puts a foot wrong in any department. I had not seen it some twenty years, but something remarkable occurred. I could remember every single element of theRead More

Big

It was back in 1992, when an envelope turned up on my desk at the BFI. It came from the Nederlands Filmmuseum (now EYE Filmmuseum), and contained a number of frame stills of very early films that they were preserving. They wanted help in identifying them. They were marvellous, intriguing, baffling images. There were scenesRead More