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Martin Scorsese does his research in preparation for LACMA appearance

January 20, 2010 |  3:06 pm


When Martin Scorsese accepted the Cecil B. DeMille Award at Sunday's Golden Globe Awards ceremony, he evoked the words of William Faulkner: "The past is never dead. It's not even past."

He later said in his speech, "None of us who make films or watch them would be here without the people who came before us. We're all walking in their footsteps every day, all of us."

Scorsese's career-long obsession with film history and preservation is well-known. Tonight, he'll bring some of his encyclopedic knowledge to bear in a public conversation with Michael Govan, the director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. The event is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. at LACMA's Bing Auditorium.

In August, Scorsese wrote an open letter to LACMA in which he criticized the museum's July decision to end its weekend film series that has served as a staple of the city's cinephile community for close to 40 years. The series featured retrospectives of old Hollywood films as well as career surveys of prominent international film artists.

Since then, a handful of donors -- the Hollywood Foreign Press Assn., Time Warner Cable and Ovation TV -- have stepped in to extend the life of the series until June 2010.

Govan said he met with Scorsese in New York during the summer. The museum said that out of this meeting came the idea for the Oscar-winning director to appear at LACMA to discuss the importance of films in a museum context.

Culture Monster has learned a few things about what will happen during tonight's talk.

On the subject of film preservation, Scorsese plans to present clips from the recently restored "The Red Shoes," the 1948 classic by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger. The restoration was undertaken by The Film Foundation, which Scorsese founded with other directors in 1990.

In addition, Scorsese has been researching the history of LACMA's film program in preparation for tonight, according to a source. A onetime resident of L.A. during the 1970s, Scorsese has stated that he was a frequent attendee of the museum's screenings while living and working in the city. 

For a full report on what Scorsese and Govan discuss tonight, check back with Culture Monster.

-- David Ng

Photo: Martin Scorsese at Sunday's Golden Globes. Credit: Gary Friedman / Los Angeles Times