Guest reporter Nicholas Jaquinot looks at the history of screen entertainment at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image's Screen Worlds permanent exhibition.
When you first walk in to the ACMI Screen Worlds exhibit (new window) the first thing you’ll notice is the huge number of screens and technology. This place is almost overflowing with bits and pieces from the history of motion picture, from the written to the interactive.
The first area gives a pretty detailed history of the evolution of motion picture, including:
- The first camera
- The 1906 film "Story of the Kelly Gang"
- The Golden age of Hollywood
- The Moon Landing
- The feminist movement
- The first video games
- The iPhone
There's also some rather strange white bulbs that contain a number of Australian TV commercials.
There’s a showcase of Australian film, TV and video games, and neat little booths devoted to Australian actors such as Cate Blanchett (who has contributed her Oscar to the exhibit!) and David Gulpilil.
The Australian showcase is a highlight and is stacked with interactive notes and booths where you can listen to composers and their take on bush music, or read about how The Castle became one of Australia’s most beloved films.
There’s a Kids Space section where smaller kids can go and do some drawing and colouring in while watching some interesting kids' shows. There is also a section for video and computer games, showing the evolution of technology in games and allowing visitors to play a bit (there’s also an over-15 games area for those who like a bit more gore).
Most interesting of the exhibits is the "Sensation" area. It’s a strange room that contains heaps of interactive setups while at the same time providing some cool information on special effects and lighting and shadow on screen.
You can watch an early shadow puppet movie and experience the strange sensation of seeing light projected onto smoke. Most impressive though is a chamber where you can make your own "bullet-time" sequence (ala The Matrix). You can also email it to friends directly from the exhibit.
I lost track of time in the exhibit, staying for well over and hour. Whether you’re interested in film, video games or technology or simply just want something to do with your time, see this exhibit. I haven’t even touched on the quantity and quality of what you’ll see here and frankly, it’s worth it just to see Dame Edna’s Australia gown and the Mad Max muscle car in the same room.
Special mention also goes to the gift shop near the entrance to the ACMI building. If you want some arthouse films or reading material l before you go to film school I suggest checking it out.
4.5 out of 5