JEAN RENOIR’S RESTORED 1951 MASTERPIECE “THE RIVER” TO HAVE U.S. PREMIERE ON THURSDAY, MAY 26 IN LOS ANGELES; SPECIAL SCREENING PRESENTED BY HOLLYWOOD FOREIGN PRESS ASSOCIATION, THE FILM FOUNDATION, & IN STYLE MAGAZINE

05/09/2005

The newly-restored print of "The River," director Jean Renoir's first color feature and the first color film ever shot in India, will have its U.S. premiere at a special screening on Thursday, May 26, 2005 at the Linwood Dunn Theater at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences' Pickford Center in Hollywood, California. This 1951 masterpiece was filmed entirely on location in India, and its original breathtaking beauty can now be experienced again on the screen, thanks to careful and complicated restoration efforts by the Academy Film Archive, in association with the British Film Institute and Janus Films. The restoration was funded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation.

This special celebration will be co-hosted by The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, The Film Foundation and In Style Magazine, in Los Angeles following an international screening of the restored film at the Cannes Film Festival on May 15.

"`The River' was one of my most formative movie experiences. Its use of color seemed absolutely extraordinary, and it affected me strongly -- it still does every time I see it. Practically every image in this picture just sings with color and light. There's no doubt in my mind, `The River' is one of the most beautiful color films ever made," said Martin Scorsese, Chair of The Film Foundation. "It was my dream for many years to see `The River' properly restored. Thanks to the Hollywood Foreign Press Association's generous contribution, I'm thrilled that we have the opportunity to share this magnificent film with the public."

"We are grateful for the opportunity to support The Film Foundation in its outstanding efforts at preserving and restoring such an important part of our culture," said Lorenzo Soria, President of the HFPA. "We are particularly proud of being associated with `The River,' an extraordinary film by legendary director Jean Renoir that celebrates connections between cultures."

Based on the novel by Rumer Godden, "The River" eloquently contrasts the coming of age of three young women with the immutability of the holy Bengal River, around which their daily lives unfold. The movie gracefully explores the fragile connections between transitory emotions and everlasting creation.

Renoir had many theories on color film-making which had not yet found expression, and he insisted that `The River' be shot in color. Renoir used his palette to maximum effect and created some of the most striking and beautiful compositions ever photographed in three-strip Technicolor, despite the many hardships that went with this decision. The film crew in India could only view rushes two to four weeks after filming, as the negative had to be shipped to London for processing, and then a work print sent back to India for screening in a rented movie theater. The Technicolor camera required both an Anglo and an Indian crew to be trained on its use and handling. And if that weren't enough, Renoir had to defuse a riot of student protestors reacting to a rumor that he was filming Hindu women in various states of undress.

In recent years, high quality copies of the film were unavailable because the theatrical printing negative had badly faded. As no preservation elements or color separation masters of "The River" could be located, the film's very existence depended on a prompt and proper restoration effort. The original three-strip Technicolor negative had been deposited at the British Film Institute in the early 1970s by the film's producer, Kenneth McEldowney. Upon inspection, The British Film Institute found that the negative was still in good condition, assuring a restoration could be mounted. The restoration was funded by the Hollywood Foreign Press Association and The Film Foundation, and was a landmark collaborative effort between the following entities:

1) The British Film Institute's National Film and Television Archive. The NFTVA held the original three-strip camera negative of the film and made it available for restoration work.

2) Janus Films. Janus Films, which owns the film in the Western Hemisphere, initiated and supported the restoration effort after doing extensive research into the condition, location and ownership of the existing film elements.

3) The Academy Film Archive. Restoration of the "The River" fell within a broader project currently underway at the AFA, the Satyajit Ray Preservation Project. Even though Ray did not work on Renoir's picture, the film and the relationship he formed with Renoir during its production are essential to understanding Ray's own development as a filmmaker. The Academy supervised the technical work on this restoration at Cinetech in Valencia, California.

"The River" is available theatrically through Janus Films in New York and on DVD from the Criterion Collection.

The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA) is the world's most successful and best-known organization of foreign correspondents. Based in Los Angeles, the association's members report on Hollywood for hundreds of publications throughout the world. Reporters attend a never-ending array of press conferences, screenings, premieres, film festivals and meetings. The association is best known for its annual Golden Globe Awards, which honor outstanding achievements in motion pictures and television.

The HFPA has donated $1,400,000 to The Film Foundation in the last nine years, in support of many different restoration and preservation projects at the nation's leading film archives. These include such films as "Paths of Glory" (1957, d. Stanley Kubrick), "Shadows" (1959, d. John Cassavetes), "Seven Men From Now" (1956, d. Budd Boetticher), "Shock Corridor" (1963, d. Sam Fuller), "The Bigamist" (1953, d. Ida Lupino), "Eraserhead" (1977, d. David Lynch), and many others.

The Film Foundation is the leading non-profit organization dedicated to film preservation in the United States. Through substantial annual funding to the nation's film archives, the foundation works to preserve and restore a broad range of films, including Hollywood features, silent films, newsreel footage and documentaries, as well as independently produced and avant-garde works whose survival is equally as vital, but which would be lost without specialized support. The cultural institutions supported by The Film Foundation provide the U.S. and international communities with essential access to the immeasurable wealth of our cinematic heritage.

The Film Foundation creates innovative educational programs, national campaigns, and public events to promote greater awareness for film protection and preservation. At the cornerstone of these efforts is The Story of Movies project, the first-ever integrated interdisciplinary curriculum to introduce young people to classic cinema and teach them about the cultural, artistic, and historical significance of film. The program helps students to better understand and interpret the language of film and visual images.

The nonprofit organization was established in 1990 by Martin Scorsese and a distinguished group of fellow filmmakers -- Woody Allen, Robert Altman, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Stanley Kubrick, George Lucas, Sydney Pollack, Robert Redford, and Steven Spielberg -- all dedicated to protecting motion pictures and the rights of the artists who create them, educating the public about the importance of film preservation, and raising the necessary funds to save the endangered cinematic treasures of the 20th century.

In Style, a celebrity, lifestyle and fashion magazine, was launched in June 1994 by Time Inc. and has emerged as one of the most successful magazines on newsstands today. In Style's uniquely fun and inviting attitude towards style in all its forms can also be found in its special issues, international editions, television programming, and books, as well as Instyle.com, which receives over 15 million monthly page views. In Style presents a vibrant and exciting visual feast of fashion, beauty and lifestyle that bridges the gap between fantasy and reality. The magazine explores the personal side of celebrity, and inspires its readers to express their own individual style.

Highly recognized by industry insiders, the award-winning In Style has earned a place on Adweek / Mediaweek's prestigious "Hot List" and "Big List," and Advertising Age's "A-List." In addition, In Style has been #1 on the Capell's Circulation report for the last several years.

Picture: From left to right: InStyle’s Cyd Wilson, HFPA President Lorenzo Soria, and the Academy Film Archive’s Mike Pogorzelski.

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