The films of the Mutoscope and Biograph are quite special. Not only because they are very old and rare, but also because of their exceptional image quality.
The films of the Mutoscope and Biograph are the oldest films in the Eye vaults. The collection of Mutoscope and Biograph films consists of 200 films of approximately one minute each. The films are quite rare, only the British Film Institute has a similar smaller collection.
The films were shot on a very large format that was quickly outdated, but which yielded spectacularly beautiful images: 68mm. Apart from the format, the material is unusual because it doesn’t have sprocket holes, so the image fills the entire width of the film strip. This produces an image quality that is comparable to IMAX – 8 to 16K in digital terminology.
Most 68mm films contain rare images from various locations in Europe, with an image quality that after 120 years is still one of the best that film can transmit.
In 2015, the South African artist William Kentridge donated 10 Drawings for Projection (1989-2011) to the Eye Filmmuseum. These ten short animation films marked Kentridge’s breakthrough on the international art scene. Illuminating the eventful history of South Africa, these films will be shown at Eye this summer as part of a larger installation. Also included in the exhibition is the film installation O Sentimental Machine (2015), featuring historical footage of Russian revolutionist Leon Trotsky. The exhibition takes place during the Holland Festival, for which William Kentridge is Associate Artist. Eye Filmmuseum, Amsterdam, 3 June – 1 September 2019.