Moscow pic museum seeks venue

Recent developments threatening museum's future

MOSCOW — Despite a personal visit from Quentin Tarantino during last June’s Moscow film festival and a public street demonstration the same time, the future of the city’s cinema museum, Muzei Kino, looks more uncertain than ever.

The museum is housed in the KinoCenter building, built in the late 1980s. But the recent sale of the building threatens to deprive the museum of its base.

There has been extensive international support for the venue, which is headed by respected film scholar Naum Kleiman, notably from the international critics org Fipresci.

Plenty of individuals have also made their opinion clear, including Italy’s Bernardo Bertolucci. However, recent developments have put the future of the venue — which combines a huge collection of items, from costumes through to original design sketches, with exhibition halls, and screening rooms — in jeopardy.

Appeal to the top

Director Nikita Mikhalkov, chairman of the Union of Film Makers of Russia, has appealed to Russian president Vladimir Putin and to culture minister Alexander Sokolov to address the situation and establish another location for the museum.

Though the culture ministry has said that the idea of a new dedicated building has been included in plans for 2006-10, given local procedures that’s not promising much. For now at least, Kleiman has the small consolation that Mosfilm studio director Karen Shakhnazarov has agreed to provide space for the collection, rather than locating it at the initially suggested Gorky studio, shortly to be privatized itself.

Now the museum must still find a location for its screening rooms, which show historical films from around the world and helped to nurture a generation of young talent. It’s no wonder that after Andrei Zvyagintsev took the Golden Lion at Venice 2003 for “The Return,” one of his first comments was to thank Muzei Kino.