Bendigo Art Gallery has a stellar reputation when it comes to presenting world-class exhibitions. Its next outing, presented in collaboration with Twentieth Century Fox, looks set to be the gallery’s greatest coup yet; one of the most comprehensive exhibitions ever to explore Marilyn Monroe’s legend.
Despite the screen siren’s untimely demise (she died from an overdose aged 36), she appeared in more than 30 movies and left an indelible mark on cinema and pop culture (everyone from Andy Warhol to Lady Gaga has paid tribute).
One of the exhibition’s highlights is the opportunity to have a peek inside Monroe’s wardrobe. The exhibition boasts 40 of Monroe’s high-glamour outfits, covering costumes (including the satin, hot-pink floor-length sheath of fabulousness that she wore for Gentlemen Prefer Blondes ), and items from her personal collection, including Erno Laszlo face cream and the Mexican Arts and Crafts' tiles Marilyn used to redecorate her kitchen in 1962.
Tansy Curtin, the exhibition’s senior curator, says that there has been a lot of detective work behind the scenes, particularly because the exhibition draws extensively from private collections. “There was a lot of cold calling, emails and poring over old catalogues," she says. "But once we started putting feelers out, collectors would put us in contact with others and it turns out that there is a really collegiate atmosphere amongst Marilyn collectors – they’ve been incredibly generous and have a wealth of knowledge.” Once such collector includes Scott Fortner, the president of the LA chapter of the Marilyn Monroe fan club, who has kindly opened his Norma Jeane treasure trove.
One of the objectives of the exhibition is to encourage people to look behind Marilyn Monroe’s public façade – something that Fortner heartily approves of. “Many people think the “dumb blonde” was who she really was in real life,” he says. “Actually, Marilyn Monroe was a character created by Norma Jean. In real life she was a smart, contemplative and sensitive person. It was an act and she actually referred to Marilyn Monroe in the third person.”
Fortner now owns one of the most extensive private collections of Marilyn Monroe memorabilia in the world, including the green Pucci blouse that Marilyn wore when she was rehearsing ‘Happy Birthday’ for JFK. However, his collection had a humble beginning. “In junior high I bought my first Marilyn book and also my first Marilyn Monroe collectible, which was a poster composed of a collage of Marilyn photos. I still have that poster today.”
You might be able to catch one of her films here
The announcement Palace Cinemas chain had reached a deal to take over Melbourne’s famous Astor Theatre was good news for local film buffs. But given the Astor’s fraught and uncertain history, some scepticism remained. These concerns have been allayed by the announcement of the Astor’s new general manager, Zak Hepburn. Hepburn has ten years of cinema experience and, perhaps most importantly from the point of view of the Astor’s loyal fan base, a long association with the cinema. “I grew up in Bacchus Marsh, where there was no cinema,” recalls Hepburn. “My mum first took me to the Astor to see The Beatles: Yellow Submarine. I was constantly asking my mother to drive me to the Astor, which was well over an hour and a half away and I’ve been a regular patron ever since.” Hepburn re-affirms that Palace Cinemas is committed to maintaining the key aspects of the ‘Astor Experience’: a single-screen theatre with a program of new and classic films in 35mm, 70mm and digital formats. “The focus is very much on establishing a cultural hub for movie fans, with double features and remastered classics, new and independent movies, film festivals and special events.” After minor refurbishment, the Astor re-opens for business on Sunday, June 7. Hepburn is finalising the new program, but it will include Kenneth Branagh’s four-hour plus Hamlet, an Astor favourite, and a digitally restored cut of the original The Terminator. There’ll be a 50th anniversary screening of spy thriller
Watching all eight Harry Potter films in one feverish marathon is a bit like taking a roadtrip across the entire country or starting a vegetable patch: it's a feat often talked about, but rarely acted upon. Potter fans, now is the time to make the dream a reality. In celebration of the 20th anniversary of the release of the first JK Rowling novel, the Astor Theatre is putting on the entire series from 11am onwards, and – for all of ya'll who are still awake – a screening of the 70mm version of Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. We're talking about an emotional rollercoaster lasting almost 24 hours; casual fans need not apply. For those hardcore enough to settle in for the entire journey, make sure you accio tickets ASAP, because tickets will sell out faster than the time it takes for Neville Longbottom to lose Trevor, his pet toad. The Astor will also be giving away prizes (fingers crossed for Chocolate Frogs and Bertie Bott's Every Flavour Beans). Dressing up is encouraged, so rustle up your best Yule Ball dress robes and get ready for a magical 24 hours.
Thirty movies screening in the 66th MIFF have been revealed – here are Time Out's picks. These join the live score screenings of There Will Be Blood and Fantastic Planet already announced, as well as the all-night Sci-Fi Marathon at the Astor. The full program is released in July 11.
The fourth Scandinavian Film Festival is coming soon with films from Denmark, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Sweden, screening at Palace Cinema Como, Westgarth, Brighton Bay and the Astor Theatre. “It came about because Scandinavia makes so many amazing films and so many of them weren’t being picked up for distribution here, or even being picked up by the festivals,” says festival director Elysia Zeccola. “I think audiences are drawn to the dark tone of gripping Scandi noir dramas. The deadpan humour of Nordic comedies is also popular. Scandinavian films tend to have very well-drawn characters, the story is the main focus, not bells and whistles, and so I find myself getting absorbed in the drama.” Here are Elysia’s picks of the festival. Heartstone Iceland “Iceland doesn’t make that many films and has a small population but it always has at least one remarkable film every year that has really stunning landscapes – those amazing icy peaks and mountains creating this dramatic background to the film already before anything’s even happened. Heartstone is a beautiful coming-of-age story with a stunning sense of place.” A Conspiracy of Faith Denmark “It’s the highly anticipated third installment of the Department Q trilogy [starring Nikolaj Lie Kaas and Fares Fares]. We screened The Keeper of Lost Causes and The Absent One and they were both really successful in previous festivals so we knew that the audience would be keen to see the third one. It’s a cold case crime t
WHAT A TIME TO BE ALIVE. Scrap The Oscars, The Emmys, The Tonys – the only awards that matter is The Dukes, The Astor Theatre's award show for cat videos. Named after the cinema's boss cat, who can often be often weaving his way through the lines for the candy bar or sitting on his kitty litter near the theatre entrance, the Dukes award will be an annual event and the first event will take place on Sunday October 2 at 4pm. On the day of The Dukes, feline film fans will be given score cards to vote for their favourite cat videos screened at the award event. The Astor team has put together an hour's worth of cat videos, from the obscure to the classic, featuring cats from the streets of St Kilda to the hills of LA. The results will be tallied and the audience's favourite video will be presented with the very first Dukes award. May the best moggie movie mogul* win. We have our money on this keyboard cat reincarnation. *Ed's note: I'd very much like to make my cat Tiger (pictured below) a star, but his greatest accomplishment to date is to sit in the recycling box. We've got a bit of work to do. Want to learn more The Astor's resident cat Duke? Check out our interview with this feline film buff.
The Astor Theatre is paying tribute to the fastest and most furious movie franchise on earth. In over 16 action-packed hours, the cinema will be screening all eight of the Fast and Furious films back to back. Interestingly, the marathon will be arranged by plot chronology, not by release order. So the films will be screened in the following order: The Fast and the Furious, 2 Fast 2 Furious, Fast and Furious, Fast 5, Fast & Furious 6, The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Furious 7 and The Fate of the Furious. See as the rag tag team of street racers with a talent for heists rev their way into becoming international super-spies at break-neck speed. No prizes for the best costume, but top points if you can pull off Suki's (AKA Devon Aoki) pink leather chaps and crop top combo.