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Australia's screen heroes face the big chill

作者:挚聿亍    发布时间:2019-02-28 06:10:07    

By Ian Anderson ONE day, the cinematic exploits of Mel Gibson, Peter Finch, Errol Flynn and other Australian film stars could be kept on ice in Antarctica. Film deteriorates unless it is kept in cold, dry conditions, and Australia’s National Film and Sound Archive in Canberra believes there is no better spot for it than the world’s coldest and driest continent. The archive would like to store historic film footage – some of it dating back to 1896 – in insulated shipping containers at one of Australia’s four research bases in Antarctica. Mark Nizette, the archive’s preservation manager, is investigating the feasibility of the idea. “The idea of storing film in Antarctica sounds a bit odd now,” says Ron Brent, director of the archive. “But sometimes crazy ideas provide exciting solutions to difficult problems.” Film undergoes chemical changes and self-destructs unless it is kept refrigerated. “Preservation is costly in terms of building special facilities, providing electricity and performing maintenance,” says Brent. Nitrate cellulose film, which was used until the 1950s, is most at risk. The archive wants to preserve some of the world’s earliest feature films, made in Australia in the early 1900s as well as the oldest Australian footage, filmed at the Melbourne Cup in November 1896. But any nitrate film sent to Antarctica must be carefully packaged and handled. The film is highly flammable and has caused major fires in a number of film stores. More modern acetate film also needs to be kept in cold, dry conditions and could be sent to Antarctica as well,

 

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