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

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

The Melbourne Cinémathèque is a membership-based film society based in Melbourne, Australia.

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

This year many of our screenings are on Monday nights. Please check the program for details.

Admission is by membership, which can be obtained on a short-term or yearly basis.

We are a volunteer-run, not-for-profit organisation.

Virtual Cinematheque

We know this can’t replace the joy of being in the cinema but why not join us for a weekly movie night at home?

Our Virtual Cinémathèque won’t replicate seasons slated for the 2020 Melbourne Cinémathèque but wherever possible we’ll try to stick to the weekly calendar format of double bills that showcase classic and contemporary films on specific directors, performers or a thematic.

Stay updated at the ACMI website

Virtual Cinematheque has been made possible with the generous support of:

The Australian Centre for the Moving Image

Monash University Museum of Art

The Goethe Institute of Australia

Stellar Dental, Collins St

Present Company Included

Coronavirus disease (COVID-19) Update – 16/3/2020

Today the Victorian government declared a state of emergency effective from 12:00pm, which will be enforced for at least the next 4 weeks. Under the conditions of this state of emergency, The Melbourne Cinémathèque will not be holding any screenings until further notice. In line with this, and with our venue The Capitol, RMIT University, and our presenting partner ACMI, we will be postponing all screenings throughout March and April.

Things are evolving on a daily basis and we will try to keep everyone informed about our screenings. We value our members and the community gathered around the Cinémathèque very highly – we are, after, all elected representatives of the membership – and thank you for your tremendous support so far this year. We very much look forward to the time when we will be able to return to sharing great cinema with you – once it is safe to do so. But for now, we need to help protect the health and safety of our volunteers, the staff at the venue, ourselves and, of course, all our members.

Once we become aware of a recommencement date we will arrange suitable arrangements for existing mini, year and friends Cinémathèque memberships (we will be exploring various options including extending memberships, asking members to donate the proportion of the membership elapsed to support the Cinémathèque’s, etc.). As a not-for-profit, volunteer-run organisation we rely on the support, goodwill and active involvement of our membership.

To ensure that people are informed of developments, updates will be posted onto our Facebook page and our website, as well as through this newsletter and via Twitter. Should you have any queries, please stay in touch with us.

Keep safe and all the best,

The Melbourne Cinémathèque committee.


July 15

Hiroshi Shimizu (1941) 70 mins – Unclassified 15+

Ozu regular Chishu Ryu plays a soldier who stabs his foot on a hairpin at a rural spa before finding hesitant romance with its owner (the legendary Kinuyo Tanaka). Shimizu’s poignant, ineffably light romance includes a generous ensemble of spa residents watching on, willing the lead couple to overcome their reticence. Not well-received by a highly imperialist country about to enter World War II, when militaristic propaganda was the literal order of the day, Shimizu’s understated humanism, elegant tracking shots and playful optimism marked a very particular kind of rebellion.

35mm print courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan.

Hiroshi Shimizu (1938) 66 mins – Unclassified 15+

Two wisecracking blind masseurs, a mysterious woman on the run, a travelling salesman and his nephew are brought together by happenstance at a remote mountain resort in Shimizu’s disarmingly funny film. As a love triangle develops – and a spate of bath-house thefts is investigated – this elegantly meandering exploration of love and loneliness weaves in and out of interconnected stories, offering shifting perspectives on human connection in pre-war Japan.

35mm print courtesy of the National Film Archive of Japan.

Hiroshi Shimizu (1937) 73 mins – Unclassified 15+

Drawing upon recurring themes that mark much of his work, Shimizu again focuses his lens on the lives of unhappy children and women, particularly mothers, burdened by societal restrictions, prejudices and straitened economic circumstances. In a film reminiscent of specific Ozu movies of the 1930s like I Was Born, But… Shimizu explores the tragic implications of a dignified single mother forced to become a bar hostess and the devastating impact this has on the life of her son.

35mm print courtesy of the Japan Foundation.


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.

Presented by The Melbourne Cinémathèque with the Australian Centre for the Moving Image.

Curated by Michael Koller, Adrian Danks, Eloise Ross and Cerise Howard for the Melbourne Cinémathèque

Subtitling Logistics: Lorenzo Rosa

Music Synchronisation: Michael Koller

Supported by Film Victoria, RMIT University & The City of Melbourne Arts Grants Program.


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