HKIFF to celebrate The Film Foundation’s 30th anniversary with six rare cinematic gems

2/7/2020 12:00:00 AM

The Hong Kong International Film Festival Society will celebrate the 30th anniversary of The Film Foundation by showcasing new restorations of six rarely-seen film classics in this year’s festival. 

Established in 1990 by Martin SCORSESE and other leading filmmakers, The Film Foundation is dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history.  By working in partnership with archives and studios, the foundation has helped to restore over 850 films – including 40 films from 24 different countries through its renowned World Cinema Project – which are made accessible to the public through festivals, museums, and educational institutions around the world.  The foundation's free educational curriculum, The Story of Movies, teaches young people - over 10 million to date - about film language and history.

“It is an honor to partner with The Film Foundation on the occasion of its 30th anniversary in bringing some of its most important works to the Hong Kong audiences,” enthused HKIFF Director of Programming Geoffrey WONG. 

“The six hidden gems in this special tribute, ranging from silent classics, Hollywood Western comedy, to Mexican and Brazilian neo-social realism, have all been restored to their full glory with The Film Foundation’s support.  They also highlight the foundation’s mission in championing film heritage and rich diversity in world cinema.”

“I’m thrilled that such an exciting selection of restorations supported by The Film Foundation are screening at this year’s Hong Kong International Film Festival. These six titles represent the diverse range of films the foundation has helped restore over the past three decades. Spanning every era, genre, and region, the hundreds of films restored show the rich history of cinema and the universality of the art of film. From Pixote and Los Olvidados to Rosita and The Broken Butterfly, all are rare works created by master filmmakers. This year in particular, during our 30th anniversary, we’re thrilled to partner with the Hong Kong International Film Festival and thank them for their devotion to film culture and commitment to the foundation’s work,” said Martin SCORSESE, the founder and chair of The Film Foundation. 

The most-anticipated work in the programme is The Broken Butterfly (1919), pioneering French director Maurice TOURNEUR’s silent American classic, which the public has not seen for a century.  This poignant romance amply demonstrates why TOURNEUR’s mastery of stylized lighting, set design and atmosphere had left such a lasting influence on the Hollywood screen.

Invited to work in Hollywood by the legendary Mary PICKFORD, German maestro Ernst LUBITSCH created a signature cinematic style – known as the Lubitsch Touch, and his first American production, Rosita (1923), is often hailed as one of the most beautifully made silent films.  Priming his iconic western with slapstick, wisecracks, and action in Destry Rides Again (1939), Hollywood veteran George MARSHALL subverted the genre in an amusing gender role reversal, anchored by flawless performances by James STEWART and Marlene DIETRICH.               

Regarded as a masterpiece of Latin American cinema, Los Olvidados (1950) earned Spanish master Luis BUÑUEL a Best Director kudo at Cannes for his raw and ruthless vision of juvenile crime in a Mexico City slum, steadfast in its realism, yet operatic in its tragedy with flourishes of surreal, transcendental insight in a stunning dream sequence.   The film inspired Hector BABENCO whose Pixote (1980) similarly shows the unbearably harsh lives of abandoned children in Sao Paulo in realistic yet shockingly lyrical images that express the texture of everyday brutality.   

American director Nietzchka KEENE drew her inspiration from a Brothers Grimm fairy tale and transformed it into The Juniper Tree (1990), an ethereal psychological horror film shot against the backdrop of Iceland’s stunning landscape and starring Björk in her enchanting film debut. 

WONG said the collaboration between HKIFFS and The Film Foundation would continue beyond this year’s festival.  “In addition to this special anniversary tribute, classics from The Film Foundation will regularly feature in our upcoming Cine Fan programmes,” he said. 

The Hong Kong International Film Festival, now in its 44th edition, will be held from 24 March to 6 April.  The public can purchase tickets online ( and through all URBTIX and HK Ticketing outlets starting from 13 March 2020.

Six classics from The Film Foundation:

1. The Broken Butterfly (1919)
Restored in 2019 by The Film Foundation at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in association with La Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé. Restoration funding provided by Louis XIII Cognac.

2. Rosita (1923)
Restored by The Museum of Modern Art. Restoration funding provided by the Louis B. Mayer Foundation, RT Features, The Film Foundation and the Celeste Bartos Preservation Fund.

3. Destry Rides Again (1939)
Restored by Universal Pictures in collaboration with The Film Foundation. Special thanks to Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg for their consultation on this restoration.

4. Los Olvidados (1950)
Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project at L’Immagine Ritrovata in collaboration with Fundación Televisa, Televisa, Cineteca Nacional Mexico, and Filmoteca de la UNAM. Restoration funding provided by The Material World Foundation.

5. Pixote (1980)
Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata in association with HB Filmes, Cinemateca Brasileira, and JLS Facilitações Sonoras. Restoration funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation.

6. The Juniper Tree (1990)
Restored by the Wisconsin Center for Film and Theater Research and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.


Berlinale Classics – Six Classic Films Celebrate World Premieres in Digitally Restored Versions

1/23/2020 12:00:00 AM

The Berlinale Classics section, curated by Rainer Rother, will salute “100 years of Fellini” with Il bidone (The Swindle), and will show two of the earliest narrative films about the Holocaust, Ostatni etap (The Last Stage) and Daleká cesta (Distant Journey), 75 years after the end of World War II. In cooperation with the section’s strong partners, the series will also include festival winner Bushido zankoku monogatari (Cruel Tale of Bushido) by Japanese master Tadashi Imai, the all-star smash hit A Fish Called Wanda, featuring Monty Python veterans, and the silent film classic Das Wachsfigurenkabinett (Waxworks), newly restored by the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek.

The Berlinale Classics 2020:

Il bidone (The Swindle)
Italy / France 1955
by Federico Fellini
with Broderick Crawford, Giulietta Masina, Richard Basehart, Franco Fabrizi, Sue Ellen Blake, Irene Cefaro
World premiere of the digitally restored version (DCP 4K)

Il bidone might be the closest Fellini came to creating a genuine genre film, but what begins as a caper movie turns into a tragic, existential drama. Set in post-war Italy and tracing the glaring contrast between rich and poor, Il bidone is considered Federico Fellini’s last neo-realistic film with a touch of Kafka. The world premiere screening of the digitally restored version is in honour of the director, who would have celebrated his 100th birthday on January 20, 2020, and of the 30th anniversary of Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation.
The 35mm camera and sound negatives, as well as the original fine-grain were used to restore the full-length version of Il bidone that was presented by Fellini at the Venice Film Festival in 1955. The restoration was undertaken by the Cineteca di Bologna and The Film Foundation in collaboration with Titanus, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation. Restoration works were carried out at L'Immagine Ritrovata in 2019.

Bushido zankoku monogatari (Cruel Tale of Bushido)
Japan 1963
by Tadashi Imai
with Kinnosuke Nakamura (in 7 roles), Satomi Oka, Kyoko Kishida, Misako Watanabe, Yoshiko Mita
World premiere of the digitally restored version (DCP 2K)

Historical episodes from generations of a samurai family graphically reveal the barbarity of the feudal system in medieval Japan, exposing parallels to the modern achievement-oriented society. Imai’s film won the Golden Bear in 1963. The digital restoration was funded by the Toei Company, Ltd. on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the Berlinale, and carried out by the Toei Lab Company; Toei will also be celebrating its 70th anniversary next year. The primary element used for the restoration was the original 35mm negative.

Daleká cesta (Distant Journey)
Czechoslovakia 1949
by Alfréd Radok
with Blanka Waleská, Otomar Krejča, Viktor Očásek, Zdeňka Baldová, Eduard Kohout
World premiere of the digitally restored version 2019 (DCP 4K)

The film traces the path of Czech Jews to Germany’s extermination camps, using the fictional narrative of a family from Prague. The narrative scenes are combined with clips from Nazi propaganda films, newsreels and Leni Riefenstahl’s Triumph des Willes (Triumph of the Will) from 1935. Director Alfréd Radok, who was himself interned in a work camp and lost close relatives to the concentration camps, created an artistically effectual portrayal of the horrors of the Holocaust. The digital restoration was supervised by Národní filmový archiv, Prague and carried out at Universal Productions Partners (UPP). Both sound and image were digitised from the duplicate positive preserved by Národní filmový archiv, Prague. Missing parts of the image were retrieved from a nitrate print from the collection of La Cinémathèque de Toulouse, which was preserved at CNC.

A Fish Called Wanda
United Kingdom / USA 1988
by Charles Crichton
with John Cleese, Jamie Lee Curtis, Kevin Kline, Michael Palin, Maria Aitken
World premiere of the digitally restored version 2017–2019 (DCP 2K)

A fast and furious romance in Britain’s best comedy tradition. A London barrister is seduced by an American jewel thief who hopes she can use him to find out where his client hid the loot from their heist. At the 2020 Berlin Film Festival, Park Circus will be presenting the world premiere of a new 2K restoration of the MGM Studios’ production A Fish Called Wanda. The restoration was carried out by Arrow Films; the original 35mm camera negative was scanned in 4K resolution on a pin-registered Northlight Scanner at Pinewood Studios.

Ostatni etap (The Last Stage)
Poland 1948
by Wanda Jakubowska
with Wanda Bartówna, Huguette Faget, Tatjana Górecka, Antonina Górecka, Maria Winogradowa, Barbara Drapińska, Aleksandra Śląska
World premiere of the digitally restored version 2019 (DCP 4K)

Ostatni etap was one of the earliest films to tackle the subject of the Holocaust and was shot partially on location at Auschwitz-Birkenau. The director realistically depicts the everyday horrors of forced labour and mass extermination, but also resistance by the women prisoners. The restoration by Poland’s National Film Archive – Audiovisual Institute, Warsaw, in cooperation with Tor Film Production, was based on a duplicate negative, since the original camera negative was lost. The restoration was funded by the European Regional Development Fund and the Polish Ministry of Culture and National Heritage.

Das Wachsfigurenkabinett (Waxworks)
Germany 1924
by Paul Leni
with Emil Jannings, Conrad Veidt, Werner Krauss, Wilhelm Dieterle, Olga Belajeff
World premiere of the digitally restored version 2015–2019 (DCP 2K) — with audio description

Harun al-Rashid, Ivan the Terrible, and Jack the Ripper feature in this fantastical three-part omnibus film directed by Paul Leni. It was a magic moment in silent filmmaking, between an art adventure and fun fair. The screening is a cooperative venture of the Berlin International Film Festival and the Deutsche Kinemathek, working with ZDF and ARTE. The film will be shown on February 21 at 5.30 pm with live musical accompaniment by the Ensemble Musikfabrik from North Rhine-Westphalia, conducted by Elena Schwarz. The new music, composed in 2019 by Bernd Schultheis, Olav Lervik, and Jan Kohl, was commissioned by ZDF/ARTE. The digital restoration was funded by the German Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM). (See Press release November 19, 2020)

Advance ticket sales for Das Wachsfigurenkabinett (Waxworks) start on February 17, 2020, at 10 am at


Louis XIII Cognac and The Film Foundation Premiere THE BROKEN BUTTERFLY in Los Angeles

12/14/2019 12:00:00 AM


LOUIS XIII Cognac, The Film Foundation, the American Cinematheque & Filmmaker David O. Russell, co-hosted the Los Angeles premiere screening of Maurice Tourneur's silent film THE BROKEN BUTTERFLY on December 13 at the iconic Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. Guests were treated to a live musical accompaniment by instructors from the Young Musicians Foundation. The screening was followed by a Q&A and private dinner co-hosted by Oscar nominated writer and director (Silver Linings Playbook, American HustleThe Fighter) David O. Russell at The Sunset Tower Hotel in West Hollywood.  The guests included industry's most sought-after names in film, fashion, culture, and journalism including: Casey Graf (Actor, "Fired Up"), Eli Roth (Writer, Actor, Director), Jack Huston (Actor), Jana Savage (Actor, "The Perfect Match"), Keegan Key (Actor/Comedian, "Key & Peele/The Lion King"), Laure Hériard Dubreuil (Founder and Creative Director, The Webster), Mathieu Demy (Actor),  Rachel Roy (Designer), Rajendra Roy (Chief Film Curator, Film, MoMA), Shannon Click (Model), Stosh Mintek (CEO, Ghetto Film School), Todd Newman (Writer, Producer, Director) and Ludovic du Plessis

David O. Russell and Louis XIII Global Executive Director Ludovic du Plessis at the LA Premiere of the Restored 1919 Classic THE BROKEN BUTTERFLY in Los Angeles on December 13 (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

David O. Russell and Louis XIII Global Executive Director Ludovic du Plessis at the LA Premiere of the Restored 1919 Classic THE BROKEN BUTTERFLY in Los Angeles on December 13 (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

David O. Russell and Louis XIII Global Executive Director Ludovic du Plessis at the LA Premiere of the Restored 1919 Classic THE BROKEN BUTTERFLY in Los Angeles on December 13 (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

David O. Russell and Louis XIII Global Executive Director Ludovic du Plessis at the LA Premiere of the Restored 1919 Classic THE BROKEN BUTTERFLY in Los Angeles on December 13 (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

David O. Russell and Louis XIII Global Executive Director Ludovic du Plessis at the LA Premiere of the Restored 1919 Classic THE BROKEN BUTTERFLY in Los Angeles on December 13 (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

David O. Russell and Louis XIII Global Executive Director Ludovic du Plessis at the LA Premiere of the Restored 1919 Classic THE BROKEN BUTTERFLY in Los Angeles on December 13 (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Keagan Key, Elle Key (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Keagan Key, Elle Key (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Keagan Key (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Keagan Key (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Jana Savage, Casey Graf (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Jana Savage, Casey Graf (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Aaron Young, Laure Heriard Dubreuil (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Aaron Young, Laure Heriard Dubreuil (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Ron Newmam, Heather Voss, Dr. Raj Kanodia (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Ron Newmam, Heather Voss, Dr. Raj Kanodia (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Rachel Roy, Ludovic Du Plessis (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Rachel Roy, Ludovic Du Plessis (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

David O. Russell (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

David O. Russell (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Jack Huston, Shannan Click (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Jack Huston, Shannan Click (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Mathieu Demy and Caroline Sarrot (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Mathieu Demy and Caroline Sarrot (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Vittoria Buraschi, Eli Roth (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Vittoria Buraschi, Eli Roth (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Eli Roth (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

Eli Roth (PRNewsfoto/LOUIS XIII)

"To see a pristine print of this beautiful 1919 film is to make history alive with vitality by traveling through time to see it for ourselves – this is only one of the reasons it is a treasure to preserve and restore these remarkable cinematic artifacts," David O. Russell, filmmaker. 

"I'm grateful for The Film Foundation's partnership with LOUIS XIII. For many years, they have provided generous support for the foundation's preservation, exhibition, and education programs. LOUIS XIII is passionate about its own legacy, and it's gratifying to know they are equally committed to protecting the world's cinematic heritage and sharing these great works of art with audiences for decades to come," said Martin Scorsese, Founder & Chair of The Film Foundation.

"Thanks to The Film Foundation and Martin Scorsese, THE BROKEN BUTTERFLY can be experienced once again one century later. Restoring this piece of memory is for us, at LOUIS XIII, a real pleasure and honour. Time is our raw material," said Ludovic du Plessis, Global Executive Director of LOUIS XIII.

In continuance of "100 Years," a series of artistic projects curated by LOUIS XIII, THE BROKEN BUTTERFLY was originally completed in 1919 to be rediscovered 100 years later, thanks to a meticulous restoration by Scorsese's The Film Foundation, supported by LOUIS XIII. A hauntingly beautiful film by director Maurice Tourneur, THE BROKEN BUTTERFLY tells the eternal story of love lost and found; of emotions and memories that shape a lifetime. The Los Angeles screening is the third in a series of events by LOUIS XIII and TFF to showcase the artistic project.

The movie THE BROKEN BUTTERFLY is available as of December 14th, 2019 on The Film Foundation website:

Photography provided by Owen Kolasinski / BFA on behalf of Louis XIII and is available here.

Maurice Tourneur (1876-1961) began his film career in France in 1912. Over two years, he made numerous films about fiery young spirits, often orphans, seeking shelter and love. In 1914, he moved to New Jersey, and then Hollywood, and spent the next 14 years directing more than 50 silent films. Renowned in America for his mastery of lighting, design, and atmosphere, his unique sense of stylization helped to shape the industry. Maurice Tourneur worked in many genres, but a recurring theme ran throughout his opus: the universal story of women and the ingenuity they often have to use to find happiness - a theme that continues to resonate today.

Based on the novel Marcene by Penelope Knapp, THE BROKEN BUTTERFLY is about a young woman, Marcene Elliot, who one day while wandering through the woods, meets Darrell Thorne, a visiting composer looking for inspiration to write a symphony. Darrell finds his muse in Marcene and the two soon fall in love. Darrell writes a symphony named for Marcene and asks her to accompany him to New York for its premiere, but she refuses, fearing the reaction of her Aunt Zabie. After Marcene gives birth to a daughter, her aunt's anger and her own fears drive her to attempt suicide. Darrell returns to hear from a repentant Aunt Zabie that Marcene is dead. He travels to relieve his suffering and meets Marcene's sister on the Riviera where she is conducting his symphony. They marry and return to Marcene's home to discover Marcene still alive but dying of a broken heart. Darrell's love revived; he proposes to Marcene after his wife releases him. Marcene dies happy and Darrell and her sister resume their marriage, now with Marcene's child.

Restored in 2019 by The Film Foundation at L'Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory in association with La Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé. As a tribute to its longstanding relationship with time and dedication to preserving craftsmanship, LOUIS XIII COGNAC has partnered to restore this rarely seen movie to be rediscovered 100 years after. Restored from the 35mm nitrate duplicate negative from La Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé. 4K scanning, colour grading, digital image restoration and film recording by L'Immagine Ritrovata, Bologna, Italy.

Think a century ahead. Each decanter is the life achievement of generations of cellar masters.
Since its origins in 1874, each generation of cellar master selects from our cellars the most precious eaux-de-vie for LOUIS XIII. Today, Cellar Master Baptiste Loiseau is setting aside our finest eaux-de-vie as a legacy to his successors for the coming century. LOUIS XIII is an exquisite blend of up to 1,200 eaux-de-vie sourced from Grande Champagne, the first cru of the Cognac region. The legendary decanters have been made of fine crystal for generations, mouth-blown by some of the most skilled master craftsmen. LOUIS XIII features exceptional aromas evoking myrrh, honey, dried roses, plum, honeysuckle, cigar box, leather, figs and passion fruit.

Created in 1990 by Martin Scorsese, The Film Foundation is dedicated to protecting and preserving motion picture history. By working in partnership with archives and studios, the foundation has helped to restore over 850 films, presenting them at festivals, museums, and theatres around the world. To date, TFF's World Cinema Project has enabled the restoration of 40 films from 24 countries, representing the rich diversity of global cinema. The foundation is also teaching young people about film through The Story of Movies, an innovative curriculum used by over 100,000 educators across the U.S. Joining Scorsese on the board of directors are Woody Allen, Paul Thomas Anderson, Wes Anderson, Francis Ford Coppola, Clint Eastwood, Peter Jackson, Ang Lee, George Lucas, Christopher Nolan, Alexander Payne, Robert Redford, and Steven Spielberg. The Film Foundation is aligned with the Directors Guild of America.


From Noir to New Wave: A Tribute to The Film Foundation

James Quandt

12/4/2019 12:00:00 AM

The TIFF Cinematheque retrospective From Noir to New Wave: A Tribute to The Film Foundation begins Saturday, January 11.

This sidebar to our ongoing Martin Scorsese retrospective pays tribute to The Film Foundation, the organization Scorsese founded in 1990 to preserve and restore our global cinematic heritage, and to educate new generations about its importance.

Of all filmmakers who double as devout cinephiles, Martin Scorsese has done the most by far to turn his passion for cinema's history into a tenacious vocation with his establishment of The Film Foundation, a non-profit organization that has helped to restore and exhibit nearly 1,000 films, including numerous titles that we have screened at both the Festival and TIFF Cinematheque over the past 30 years.

Our tribute is designed to showcase the wide variety of the Foundations estimable work: from low-rent American noir (Detour) to sweeping Algerian historical epic (Chronicle of the Years of Fire); from a rare Ernst Lubitsch silent, miraculously preserved and restored against daunting odds, to classics of Japanese and Mexican cinema and major works of the Indian and Taiwanese New Waves; from a cinematic Holy Grail (the original Armenian version of Sergei Parajanov’s masterpiece The Color of Pomegranates) to a dynamite double bill of the two Hollywood versions of Ernest Hemingway’s The Killers. (And that’s not to mention the Film Foundation restorations of Winchester ’73 and Destry Rides Again playing in this season’s James Stewart series). That we could have chosen almost a hundred programmes of similar riches attests to the enduring accomplishment of The Film Foundation.



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