I think there are several ACMIs around the world, and there has been one in Melbourne for many a year now, as part of Federation Square, and a few weeks back I took the opportunity to finally visit it for the first time.
What is ‘ACMI’ I hear you say? It’s a museum for cinema and the ‘moving image’ (so that includes TV) – to be precise the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.
Why was I surprised? Well, for starters it’s free for the main exhibition, so I didn’t expect it to be as large or interesting as it was. From examples of the earliest of films to the modern day, obviously with a large Australian angle on it.
One of the earliest ever ‘feature films’ made was an Australian film – ‘The Story of the Kelly Gang’, the first of a number of films made about the famous Bushranger from Victoria, Ned Kelly. It was made in 1906 in and around Melbourne, and obviously was silent. You can see bits and pieces of the film in the exhibit, and of other films about Ned.
This is near the beginning of the exhibit which traces roughly the story of film as it moves into movie halls, you can see old soundtracks (music) recorded on records to be played as films were shown. Of course, then the old organs became familiar.
If you’re a fan of Baz Lurhman, there’s plenty there to interest you, including interviews and costumes from his most famous movies such as ‘Strictly Ballroom’, ‘Romeo and Juliet’, ‘Moulin Rouge’ and ‘Australia’. There’s also a replica of the car from Mad Max and more on that series of films.
There is a large interactive section too and it looks like a lot of fun for kids. You can even take short films of yourself dancing and have them sent to your email! And then there’s the section on Australian TV and some of the classics such as ‘Skippy’ and a personal favourite of mine – ‘Prisoner’, known elsewhere by different titles such as ‘Prisoner – Cell Block H’.
There are several cinemas attached that show interesting and different films every day, including short films, and a little café that wasn’t the best feature of the place, but was nice enough. Then they have changing exhibits too (which cost money, as does seeing the films) and presently there is an exhibit based on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ which sounds interesting.
You can easily spend and hour plus in the free exhibit though, and I thought it was really worthwhile. So, if you’re visiting Melbourne and looking for something free to do, this is a great option!
Thanks for reading, and May the Journey Never End!