ACMI exhibition,

New exhibition in Melbourne celebrating cinema during the First World War

Posted on on 02 February 2015
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To commemorate the Centenary of the First World War, The Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), in association with the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia, will present War Pictures: Australians at the Cinema 1914-1918.

Audiences will step inside an early 20th century 'picture palace' and discover what Australians saw when they went to the cinema during the First World War era.

The exhibition features shorts, advertisements, newsreels, propaganda and feature films of the period produced by the bourgeoning local film industry, as well as showcasing a selection of international content. Material depicting the training, departure and return of Australian troops will also be included.

                 Screen image on show at the exhibition (supplied to CN by exhibition organisers)

Between 1914 and 1918, the expanding local industry produced over 50 feature films, and cinema attendance was on the rise. Though many of these films have been tragically lost, those that remain offer a rare glimpse into Australian life during a time of social and economic upheaval.

The exhibition has been produced with the support of the National Film and Sound Archive of Australia.

ACMI’s Head of Exhibitions & Collections, Russell Briggs said ACMI said: “This is a momentous occasion for Australians as the Great War affected many lives and its impact is still felt today. In War Pictures, audiences will uncover the evolution of cinema during this time – from the big screen imaginings of the War, to the melodramas and comedies that provided much-needed entertainment to families on the home front. The exhibition will offer a unique insight into the cinema experience back then.”

NFSA Chief Executive, Michael Loebenstein, said: "We are proud to partner with ACMI to present this fascinating program, which will allow audiences to view the First World War from a different angle, beyond the battle front, and experience what it must have been like to live in Australia during those challenging years.

"This is the first of a series of exciting projects we’re undertaking to celebrate the Anzac Centenary, using the stories held in the national audiovisual collection, and joining forces with other key arts and cultural organisations."

War Pictures: Australians at the Cinema 1914-1918 is free to the public and will show at ACMI from 10 March to 12 July 2015. For more information, please visit

Posted by: Hannah Schneider, Centenary News

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