Dedicated to screening rare & significant films in their original format.

The Melbourne Cinémathèque is a not-for-profit, volunteer-run film society.

We hold screenings at The Australian Centre for the Moving image every Wednesday night for most of the year.

Admission is by membership, which can be obtained on a monthly or yearly basis.


May 27

Chen Kaige (1984) 89 mins G

Considered the breakthrough film that brought the Fifth Generation filmmakers into the international spotlight, the directorial debut of Chen, featuring luscious cinematography by Zhang Yimou, brought a radically new aesthetic to Chinese cinema. Set in 1939 against the arid backdrop of Northern China, a soldier collects peasant folk songs for reappropriation by the Communist army. With a narrative mainly advanced through song lyrics, Zhang shot at particular times of the day to capture the bold colours of the landscape and “recreate” traditional painting techniques.

8:40PM – JU DOU
Zhang Yimou (1990) 95 mins M

A torrid and intense melodrama of transgressive love, this period drama was Zhang’s breakthrough film after Red Sorghum. Passionate performances (including Gong Li in the title role) are matched by expressionistic and vivid compositions in overheated Technicolor. Its grimly sumptuous combination of adultery and revenge found it banned by the Chinese authorities for several years. On one level it is a gripping noir, on another it is a savage indictment of feudalism.

The first Chinese film to be nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.


The Melbourne Cinémathèque started out as the Melbourne University Film Society (MUFS) in 1948 and changed its name to Cinémathèque in 1984.

The Melbourne Cinémathèque aims to present films in the medium they were created and as closely as possible to screen films the way they would have originally screened (i.e. big screen, celluloid prints, not video or DVD).

Programmes include a diverse selection of classic and contemporary films showcasing director retrospectives, special guest appearances and thematic series including archival material and new or restored prints.

We have on occasion hosted numerous seminars featuring renowned film scholars such as David Bordwell, Adrian Martin and Ian Christie. We are also dedicated to providing new annotations on the films we screen via the CTEQ annotations, hosted as a part of the quarterly online film journal Senses of Cinema.

The Melbourne Cinémathèque is self-administered and membership-driven relying on support from individuals, foundations, corporations and government funding to maintain its high standard of excellence. If you would like to be involved, or to offer donations or sponsorship, please contact us.


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Currently there are no program changes to announce.