According to their website
, ACMI is nowadays just a capitalised word. But it used to stand for Australian Center for the Moving Image
. That should give you some idea of what we have here.
That's right: it's a museum. Located in Melbourne, Australia, and dedicated to preserving, restoring and displaying films, TV programmes, video games and motion picture art.
ACMI hosts an enormous collection of films, ranging from very old ones to fairly new ones. A selection of films is on display, to be watched with other visitors in full in one of the on premise cinemas or on your own (see Bring your own cinema
below). But not everything is available to be viewed by the public. Some films are preserved in ACMI's vault, waiting to be restored and digitised, but not available for viewing.
Under certain conditions, you can
view films that are stored in the vault. You have to book a viewing in advance (at a cost) and you can only do so for study. The Siege of Barton's Bathroom
was such a film until very recently: preserved in the ACMI's vault, but not available to the public.
But that changed in 2021: ACMI restored and digitised their 16mm copy of the film. The digital copy doesn't wear out, and the original 16mm is (presumably) safely back in the vault, so it can now be watched by all visitors of ACMI in Melbourne. Hurray!Bring your own cinema
You read that right: you need to visit the ACMI in Melbourne.
Just enter the building (admission is free) and connect your own smartphone, tablet or computer to the ACMI's WIFI network. Then, through that connection, visit the ACMI's website and you can watch Siege
(and the rest of ACMI's collection of course).
This is great if you happen to live in or near Melbourne. But because that special website only
works from ACMI's WIFI network; you can't access it from your own home. So us international fans would have to book a flight to Australia to view the film. Streaming
If you don't live in or near Melbourne but do
live in Australia, there might be a second option in the future.
ACMI offers a free home streaming service called Cinema3
. It shows a rotating roster of films from ACMI's collection. At the time of writing, Siege
on the service, but now that it is digitised they could, in theory, put it on.
Unfortunately (for international Bartons
fans like myself), Cinema3
is only available in Australia.