FLASHBULBS popped as Cate Blanchett, David Gulpilil, Hugo Weaving and Geoffrey Rush walked the red carpet in Melbourne yesterday. But this wasn’t the premiere of a film – it was the launch of an exhibition devoted to thousands of movies.
And not just to a century of cinema, but also to TV, animation, video games and the digital world, to archival materials and newly commissioned work. Screen Worlds, at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Federation Square, is a remarkable, wide-ranging, free permanent exhibition devoted to the moving image in all its forms.
Blanchett – in vertiginous heels and a crocheted dress from Sydney label Romance Was Born – spoke enthusiastically about the range and possibilities of Screen Worlds.
She is one of more than a dozen figures from the Australian industry, many of whom were at the launch, who have a spotlight section devoted to their work. ”Putting us all together,” she said, ”created interesting juxtapositions”. Geoffrey Rush, who has lent ACMI his sword and treasure chest from Pirates of the Caribbean, said he was struck by the experience he had while talking to director Rachel Perkins, who is featured in Screen Worlds.
”She told me that the first footage shot in Australia was of Torres Strait Island dancers. It was actually used as evidence in the Mabo case. And the footage came on” on a nearby screen ”just as she was speaking.” It was a moment, for him, that encapsulates what Screen Worlds is about: the central place of film in Australian history and culture.
Ab Rogers, from British firm Ab Rogers Design, in designing Screen Worlds, said: ”Our aim was to make it as accessible as possible.” He is delighted, he says, by the way ACMI director Tony Sweeney ”marinates the audience in the moving image and blasts them with it from every direction”.
ACMI Open Day, with a host of free events, is on Sunday.