Museums haven't been completely separate from film, especially in the art world, where modern art installations often include video imaging. So, it wouldn't be surprising to hear that two leading museums are involving themselves in film. However, I'm not talking about art installations, but full-length films. Both Musee d'Orsay and the Louvre, Paris' leading museums, are joining the cinematic world by underwriting films by internationally-acclaimed directors.

For Musee d'Orsay's 20th anniversary, the museum has chosen to work with four filmmakers to create a series that includes different plots, but centers around the museum. The filmmakers in question: American Jim Jarmusch, France's Olivier Assayas, Chilean Raoul Ruiz and Chinese director Hou Hsia-Hsien. Each will star veteran French actress Juliette Binoche and will range from a tribute to the French classic, The Red Balloon, that has the balloon sailing into d'Orsay, to a film about what the building was before -- a train station and hotel.

The Louvre is being a little more secretive for its first foray into film financing. Out of the three upcoming films they plan to co-produce and co-finance, only one has been discussed in any detail -- Faces by Taiwan's Tsai Ming Liang, who was a winner at the Berlin film festival for The River. Jean-Pierre Leaud will star, and the film will take place completely in the museum.

This is, obviously, a great way for museum's to advertise themselves abroad and keep their names on the tips of the world's tongues -- the same motivation that drove Greece to allow Vardalos to be only the second director to shoot atthe Acropolis (the last being Coppola for New York Stories). What are your thoughts? Should museums dip their toes in this area?

categories Movies, Cinematical