Celluloid dreams

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From peep shows to Cinemascope, film has become the mass entertainment of the century and, at the Museum of the Moving Image, a new exhibition, "Still Moving After One Hundred Years", marks the centenary of British cinema.

In the same year that Freud founded psychoanalysis, British audiences were being scared stiff by the pioneering work of directors like Birt Acres, whose Rough Sea at Dover caused wide-eyed punters to duck beneath their seats to avoid getting splashed. Through slides, screenings and memorabilia, the MOMI exhibition explores the celluloid dreams of our national psyche, focusing on key moments of production. It's not difficult to see why Blighty boomed with dramatic and documentary propaganda in the war years, but what awful native traumas found their expression in Hammer Horror and James Bond?

Displays reflect the breadth of contemporary British cinema, spanning the improvised realism of Life is Sweet to the glossy profit found in Four Weddings. Displays also go behind the scenes of movie production to focus on the teams of cinematographers, designers and costumers.

An accompanying programme of events includes lectures on the past glories of baroque picture palaces now squatted in by bingo players, lunchtime talks, and screenings of film classics.

From February, the exhibition tours regional theatres, from Stirling to Southampton, so British cinema should receive a truly national analysis.


'Still Moving After One Hundred Years', Museum of the Moving Image, South Bank, London SE1 (071-401 2636)