Though Los Angeles is the movie capital of the world, it has paid scant attention to the historical and cultural dimensions of film. Most of the movie community's attention has gone to making films, and little has been left for thinking about them.
The American Cinematheque aims to change that by providing a permanent, full-time center that will be a living, working museum of the movies. The Cinematheque has been in the planning stage for several years and expects to be part of the restored Pan Pacific Center two years from now.
In the meantime, the Cinematheque launched its first program last week, celebrating the 50th anniversary of the film department of the Museum of Modern Art in New York. From now until Feb. 4, at various locations around town, 70 films from the museum's archives will be shown, ranging from silent films to restored classics to experimental works.
This series, organized in association with the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art and the UCLA Film, Television and Radio Archives, pays tribute to the Museum of Modern Art's early recognition of the movies as an important artistic medium. It is also a reminder that Los Angeles is about to get a film center of its own.