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Two New Exhibitions Open at Academy Galleries

By ©A.M.P.A.S.®
Jan 7, 2004, 04:32

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Beverly Hills, CA - Two new exhibitions, one of film posters from the Czech Republic and the other focusing on the career of famed silent film director F.W. Murnau, will open at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences on January 23. Like all exhibitions at the Academy, "Czech Film Posters of the 20th Century" and "F.W. Murnau: Film Pioneer" will be free and open to the public.

Artists in what is now known as the Czech Republic have long held a world-wide reputation for the sophistication and creativity of their artistic expression in the field of graphic design. When this high standard has been applied to creating film posters, the results have been spectacular.

The Academy's exhibition will feature 70 posters dating from 1910 through 2000, highlighting the work of many of the most important artists working in this field. Posters created for Czech, American, Russian, European and Scandinavian films are included. Among the titles represented are "Nosferatu," "Erotikon," "King Kong," "Wild Strawberries," "Closely Watched Trains," "Easy Rider," "The Great Dictator" and "One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest."


"Czech Film Posters of the 20th Century" is presented in association with the Consulate General of the Czech Republic in Los Angeles and the Ministry of Culture of the Czech Republic. The posters are from the collections of the Moravian Gallery in Brno, Czech Republic, the Museum of Decorative Arts in Prague, and several private collections.

"F.W. Murnau: Film Pioneer" is an installation of video clips, documents, photographs, production designs, costumes and set models that provides insight into the legendary silent film director's work. Organized by the Berlin Film Museum, the exhibition was originally presented as part of the 2003 Berlin Film Festival. The Academy will be the only American stop on a multi-city international tour.

Born in 1888, Murnau had made ten feature films in Germany by 1921. It was his next, "Nosferatu," that became an instant classic, with its influence over the genre of vampire film (and horror film in general) continuing even to this day. After making several more films for UFA Studios, including "Der Letzte Mann" (released in the U.S. as "The Last Laugh") and "Faust," Murnau was signed to a contract with Fox Studios, and he left Berlin for Hollywood.


Murnau's first project in the United States was "Sunrise," which went on to earn Academy Awards at the very first ceremony for actress Janet Gaynor and cinematographer Karl Rosher, as well as a special award for Unique and Artistic Picture (1927/28).

During the production of "City Girl" (1929), which was plagued with difficulties, Murnau became friendly with acclaimed documentary filmmaker Robert Flaherty, which led them to travel to the South Pacific to make "Tabu" (1931), financed by Murnau himself. Toward the end of filming, with his resources exhausted, Murnau was offered a ten-year contract by Paramount, which also bought the rights to "Tabu." But prior to the film's New York premiere, the director was killed in an automobile accident. Mourned by the top talents of the German film industry and eulogized by director Fritz Lang, Murnau was buried in Berlin in April 1931.


"F.W. Murnau: Film Pioneer" is presented in association with the Goethe Institut - Los Angeles, which, along with Lufthansa Cargo, has provided generous support for the exhibition.

In conjunction with the Academy's installation, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art Film Department will present a screening series of Murnau's films. The kick-off to the series will be the March 25 Los Angeles premiere of the newly-restored version of "Sunrise," completed by the Academy Film Archive, 20th Century Fox and the British Film Institute. Details of the series and the "Sunrise" screening will be announced separately.

Admission to the two new exhibitions, which will continue at the Academy through April 18, is free. Gallery viewing hours are Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends, noon to 6 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call 310-247-3600.


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