by Mark Rabinowitz
The Museum of Modern Art has announced a film acquisitions campaign to
coincide with the end of the millenium in the year 2000. "200 for 2000"
was undertaken with the goal of acquiring at least 200 films by the year
2000 for the Museum's film archive. The process began quietly in
the Spring of 1996 and, according to a Museum representatives, is about
one-third of the way toward the goal. Several of the early acquisitions
in the series, including works by Martin Scorsese, Woody Allen, Oliver
Stone, John Sayles and Spike Lee will be shown this summer as part of
the recently announced program, "A View From the Vaults: Recent
Acquisitions and Restorations." Some, but not all, of the films
screening in this series are part of the 200 for 2000 acquisitions, according to
museum spokesperson Harris Dew, who joined MOMA this week.
The campaign is being selected by the programming staff of the Museum,
including Chief Curator Mary Lea Bandy, and curators Laurence Kardish
and Steven Higgins. The programmers have a "wish list" for films that
they hope to acquire over the next 18 months, which includes some
specific films, as well as genres, time periods, and major film figures
whose work is under-represented at the Museum. Specific films targeted
by the curators include "The Palm Beach Story" (dir. Preston Sturges,
1942), "Some Like it Hot" (Billy Wilder, 1959), "The Producers" (Mel
Brooks, 1968), "Midnight Cowboy" (John Schlesinger, 1969), "The Last
Picture Show" (Peter Bogdanovich, 1971), "The Eel" (Shohei Imamura,
1997) and "Nobody's Fool" (Robert Benton, 1994). Targeted
categories include Hollywood melodramas from the 1930's; films from
sub-Saharan Africa and the African Diaspora, especially African American
and Caribbean cinema; the French New Wave, and films from Australia and
India, especially those by Satyajit Ray and Ritwick Ghatak.
In a prepared statement, Bandy expressed her pleasure at being able to
present some of the Museum's recent acquisitions in the upcoming summer
series, and added, "Film has emerged from the emblematic medium of the
twentieth century and movies today dominate world culture." She
continued, "Cinematic works of art, however, are as rare as ever, and we
are grateful to all those who support our efforts to preserve and
celebrate world cinema's extraordinary heritage." One of the goals of
200 for 2000 will be to replace or restore prints already in the
Museum's collection that have become faded or damaged over time,
especially acetate prints from the 1950's through the 1970's.
Several films screening in "A View From the Vaults" have recently been
restored by the Museum, including "Orphans of the Storm (dir. D.W.
Griffith, 1922), "All About Eve" (Joseph Mankiewicz, 1950) and "Taxi
Driver" (Martin Scorsese, 1976). In addition, "A View From the Vaults"
will include recently acquired films directed by Andy Warhol, Julie
Dash, Al Pacino, Spike Lee and Nancy Savoca. The series was organized by
Curator Steven Higgins and Assistant Curator Anne Morra.