July 25, 2007


The Royal Ontario Museum has recently undergone a fairly radical transformation. On June 2 the museum celebrated the official opening of the Michael Lee-Chin Crystal, a multi-million dollar expansion designed by architect Daniel Libeskind. The Crystal is located at the busy intersection of Bloor and Queen's Park and can be seen from blocks away in every direction. In other words, finding the ROM shouldn't be a problem.

What is a problem -- for festival-goers, at least -- is the theater itself, which is an old room on the lower level of the original building. Assuming it hasn't undergone a radical transformation of its own since last September, The ROM is a long and narrow hall with too many seats. Also, it's way too close to passing subway lines. (Films at The ROM come with bonus sound effects.) As with The Elgin, I recommend sitting in the front third of the theater.

I do have one very fond memory from The ROM, though. In 2004, I arrived late to a screening of Chantal Akerman's Demain on demenage, so I walked quietly through the dark, working my way slowly up the right aisle until I found an open seat. When the lights came up I discovered I was sitting beside Jonathan Rosenbaum. After the film, he and I both asked questions -- his was about musicals, mine was about mother/daughter relationships -- and Akerman appeared amused by his, annoyed by mine. In my defense, she spent five or ten minutes responding to my question, so there must have been some merit to it.

Subway Stop: Museum
Rush & Ticket-Holder Lines: Form along Queen's Park, just to the north of the Museum's main entrance. (If you imagine yourself walking toward the steps in the photo above, the lines form just to the right.)


Dan Sallitt said...

I think Chantal Akerman is not difficult to annoy....

Don said...

The ROM theatre has changed a bit, but it had done so in time for last year's fest. The seats are comfier (and fewer), the leg room is better and (if memory serves) this means that the head of the person in front of you is somewhat less likely to block the subtitles than was the case previously. It's still one of my least favourite venues, but not quite the write-off it used to be.

I can't remember if subway noise has been reduced or not. I'm still not sure if the low rumble I heard preceding the avalanche in Noi Albinoi a couple of years back was on the soundtrack or from a passing subway car, although I like the idea that the TTC can affect change in the images before me.

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