The importance of storytelling in human history can be summed up as part of the essence of who we are. Stories look deep into our emotions and explore the trials and triumphs of what it is to be human.
Storytelling through the genre of film is one of our most wonderful human progressions. Most of us will remember a childhood favourite, that first magical experience where all the colours of our imagination were brought to life as we sat mesmerised, watching the story unfold. We can think back to iconic moments in film where we were transported to the land of imagination on the back of a dragon-dog in The Never-ending Story. We met our adorable alien best friend in ET, and who didn’t pedal their little hearts out in the hopes of taking off through the sky? We went to space to become a lifesaving Jedi in Star Wars VI and many of us joined our inner child and re-lived that glorious experience more recently.
If we look through the history of film, we can go on a journey of the human story. Looking back, we’re able to know what society found funny or frightening or beautiful at any given time. We’re able to get a glimpse at how we felt about the future, or how we saw the past. What’s included in cinematic history also speaks volumes about what is not, who had the opportunities to make films, star in films or watch them.
Not only do the stories give us these insights, but the technology behind film is too a story of human invention and progression; from silent and black & white to hand-coloured to digital to 3D, and now even 4D experiences. It speaks about our behaviour, from Drive-ins to Youtube.
Eye Film Museum stands in Amsterdam as a tribute to film throughout the ages. The building itself, is a visual eye to the cinematic experience. There is a reason why it is known as the, ‘cinematic memory of the Netherlands.’ Its history, which really dates back to 1946 culminates beautifully in the modern setting it sits in today.
Preserving films that date back 1895, the EYE depots store more than 62,000 kilometres of film (that’s roughly 37,000 film titles). One of their most important tasks is the physical and digital preservation and restoration of this history.
Behind these impressive numbers are the people probably most passionate about the medium. Casimir visited the EYE Film Museum’s extensive archives to speak to the people who work there to find out what it’s like to work inside a living ode to cinema.