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.


December 12

Dušan Makavejev (1968) 75 mins – Unclassified 15 +*

In 1941, Serbian gymnast Dragoljub Aleksić wrote, directed and starred in a naively narcissistic folktale about a virginal young girl enamoured of the virile prowess of a heroic Serbian strongman. Makavejev takes portions of that unreleased film and intercuts them with footage of the Nazi Occupation, along with interviews with Aleksić and fellow cast and crew to create a montage of attractions that slyly riffs on the several possible readings of the film’s title. Roger Ebert called this truly unique compilation film “one of the most delightful movies I’ve ever seen, and one of the hardest to describe”.

35mm print courtesy of the British Film Institute Archive.

Dušan Makavejev (1967) 70 mins – M

This infinitely mind-bending exploration of love, freedom and shared political attitudes between a young telephonist and a middle-aged rodent exterminator is also a tragic romance set within the gleefully satirical confines of Makavejev’s freewheeling cinema. The film therefore has no choice but to quickly spiral into an exercise in reflexivity that calls into question the earnestness of both intimacy and socialist realism. Tongue-in-cheek interviews with sexologists and criminologists further demonstrate the director’s dexterity in blending genres along with his skill in fashioning sophisticated humanistic melodrama. 

35mm print courtesy of the British Film Institute Archive.

9:45pm – MAN IS NOT A BIRD
Dušan Makavejev (1965) 81 mins – Unclassified 15 +*

Makavejev’s groundbreaking first feature is a warts-and-all portrait of workers in a mining complex in a remote region of Yugoslavia. Emerging from the “new film” movement made possible by decentralisation and the democratisation of the film industry, Makavejev grasped the opportunity to express his idiosyncratic vision of personal freedom. Following the contrasting exploits and sexual relationships of an assembly expert and a violent smelting worker, the film aims to “show how people are permeated by ideologies, and how their conduct, gestures, opinions, thoughts, are unconsciously influenced by ideological hypnosis” (Makavejev).

35mm print courtesy of The British Film Institute Archive.

Love and Suffocation in ‘Man Is Not a Bird’ by Nick Bugeja.


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 the Melbourne Cinémathèque.

Curatorial Committee: Michael Koller, Michelle Carey, Adrian Danks, Eloise Ross and Cerise Howard.

Supported by Screen Australia and Film Victoria.


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NOTICE: The committee of The Melbourne Cinémathèque wishes to make some changes to our constitution, however, to do that we now have to conform to the model constitution in the 2012 Act, so a number of other changes are also required.

Here is a copy of the constitution with the changes on RED.

The Melbourne Cinémathèque Constitution 2018.

We wish to pass these changes at the AGM on Wednesday May 30, at 6:40pm.

Please read the RED stuff and consider. It won’t take long. Then come along to the AGM.