Tim Burton has landed in Paris -- specifically, at the famed Cinémathèque française. The art exhibition devoted to the eccentric American filmmaker has been a popular success in New York, Melbourne, Toronto and, most recently, Southern California, at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art.
While it may be hard for the French to grasp the significance of Burbank -- the suburb where Burton grew up, and a key point of reference in the exhibition -- the playfully dark images of the Burton universe constitute an international language that needs no cultural translation.
Perhaps even more than in the U.S., Burton is lauded in France as a cinematic visionary, a rare example of an auteur filmmaker working within the Hollywood studio system. (The Cinémathèque's news release asks rhetorically if Burton is "the most European of American filmmakers?")
The exhibition comprises hundreds of drawings, designs, costumes and movie artifacts created by Burton and his collaborators. It opened in Paris on Wednesday and is scheduled to run through Aug. 5. Located near the Seine on the Right Bank, the Cinémathèque is part movie museum, part film society, housed in a modernist complex designed by architect Frank Gehry.
The show, organized by the Museum of Modern Art, debuted in New York in 2009 and became the third most-attended exhibition in the museum's history. In L.A., where the show ran for 135 days in 2011, the exhibition was LACMA's fifth-best attended show in the last three decades.
As with the show's previous engagements, the Paris run is a marketing bonanza for the Cinémathèque. The exhibition has been heavily promoted online, on the radio and through other media. The gift shop is selling DVD box sets of Burton's movies.
The Cinémathèque is showing a retrospective of Burton's films as part of the exhibition. As in the LACMA run, the filmmaker has chosen a sidebar of movies that have influenced his work. Among the titles are Murnau's "Nosferatu," Fellini's "8 1/2" and Ed Wood's transvestite opus "Glen or Glenda" (French title: "Louis ou Louise").
Paris will be the final stop for the Burton exhibition, according to a MOMA spokeswoman.