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Filmmuseum Vondelpark: A Requiem

In a few months, the Amsterdam Film Museum (or EYE, as it has been re-branded a while ago) will move from its present spot in Vondelpark to a shiny, new building just outside the city center. So grab your chance and go see the lovely old museum while you still can!

Photo by stratski

I remember the first time I went to the film museum. I was 18 and totally clueless. I expected an exhibition on film making, movies, Hollywood, stuff like that. Old film reels and costumes, maybe some props from famous Dutch movies. So I actually was a bit disappointed when I found out they had nothing of the sort. The film museum has – of course – films. The museum consists of two screening rooms, where several times a day you can see old movies and art house cinema. A few years later I had gotten really into film working at a small art house cinema and learned to love the film museum.

Located in the most beautiful location of Amsterdam, in an old villa smack in the middle of Vondelpark, is the film museum, which has something for every film lover. There are screenings of classics from every decade, from silent German expressionistic films (Metropolis, Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari), to 1940’s screwball comedies (His Girl Friday, Arsenic and Old Lace) to 1970’s westerns (The Good, the Bad and the Ugly – one of my all-time favorites) and so on. They also show modern art house films you don’t often see in other cinemas, and sometimes they have films with live music.

One of my fondest memories is a screening of several old polar expedition films, accompanied by experimental music. The musician had built his own, huge, instrument from what looked like bits and pieces of synthesizers, scrap metal, and a theremin. It would screech like cracking ice, howl like the polar wind, and add an etherical layer that would let you drift away over the ice. It was beautiful.

Another great asset is Cafe Vertigo, located in the basement of the museum. Also accessible for people who aren’t going to visit the museum, it’s a cozy cafe/restaurant where you can enjoy food and drinks between old movie posters. It also has a very popular al-fresco section, where people enjoy the view of the park until deep in the wintertime (thanks to the terrace heaters).

Photo by stratski

Still, I understand why they are moving, the old building was never really intended to be a cinema. It has only two, rather, small screening rooms, and on the front row, you can get a real stiff neck from looking up. It’s a beautiful building though, with classic coffered ceilings, hardwood floors, and high windows. I’ll miss going there when the museum moves.

Oh, in case you’re wondering, the new building will be quite nice as well. You can see it here.

written by stratski

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