The restored films of Venice Classics

7/18/2017 12:00:00 AM

Director Giuseppe Piccioni to head the Jury of Cinema History Students

Italian director Giuseppe Piccioni (Not of This World, Light of My Eyes, These Days) will chair the Jury of Cinema History Students which – for the fifth time – will award the VENEZIA CLASSICI AWARD for the BEST RESTORED FILM and the BEST DOCUMENTARY ON CINEMA.

The numerous restored masterpieces in the Venezia Classici section of the 74th Venice International Film Festival include:1900 by Bernardo Bertolucci (1976); Red Desert by Michelangelo Antonioni (1964), awarded the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival; A Story from Chikamatsu (1954) and Sansho the Bailiff (1954), awarded the Silver Lion at the Venice International Film Festival, by Kenji MizoguchiWanderers of the Desert by Nacer Khemir (1984); The Revolt of Mamie Stover by Raoul Walsh (1956); The Third Lover by Claude Chabrol (1962); Black Peter by Miloš Forman (1963); Close Encounters of the Third Kind by Steven Spielberg (1977); Batch ’81 by Mike De Leon (1982), and Into the Night by John Landis (1985).

The 74th Venice International Film Festival will be held at the Lido from August 30 to September 9, 2017; it is directed by Alberto Barbera and organized by the Biennale chaired by Paolo Baratta.

Since 2012, and with growing success, the Festival section Venezia Classici has been presenting the world premieres of a selection of the best restorations of classic films conducted over the previous year by film libraries, cultural institutions and productions all over the world. Curated by Alberto Barbera in collaboration with Stefano Francia di CelleVenezia Classici also presents a selection of documentaries about cinema and its filmmakers. The Jury, chaired by Giuseppe Piccioni, is composed of 26 cinema history students – nominated by their professors – in their final year at Italian universities, DAMS performing arts courses, and Ca’ Foscari University of Venice.

The list of the films selectedfor the Venezia Classici section of the 74th Festival:

Les baliseurs du désert / El-haimoune (Wanderers of the Desert)

by Nacer Khemir (Tunisie, France, 1984, 95’, COL.)

Restoration: Cinémathèque royale de Belgique


Batch ‘81

by Mike De Leon (Philippines, 1982, 108’, COL.)

Restoration: Asian Film Archive


Cerný Petr (Black Peter)

by Miloš Forman (Czechoslovakia, 1963, 89’, B/W)

Restoration: Národní filmový archiv


Chikamatsu monogatari (A Story from Chikamatsu)

by Kenji Mizoguchi (Japan, 1954, 102’, B/W)

Restoration: Kadokawa Corporation, The Film Foundation with the cooperation of The Japan Foundation


Close Encounters of the Third Kind 

by Steven Spielberg (USA, 1977, 137’, COL.)

Restoration: Sony Pictures Entertainment


Daïnah la métisse

by Jean Grémillon (France, 1932, 48’, B/W)

followed by Zéro de conduite – rushes by Jean Vigo (France, 1933, 20’, B/W)

Restoration: Gaumont with the support of Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée


Il deserto rosso (Red Desert)

by Michelangelo Antonioni (Italy, 1964, 120’, COL.)

Restoration: CSC-Cineteca Nazionale with the cooperation of RTI-Mediaset


Deux ou trois choses que je sais d’elle (Two or Three Things I Know About Her)

by Jean-Luc Godard (France, 1967, 87’, COL.)

Restoration: Argos Films with the support of Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée


La donna scimmia (The Ape Woman)

by Marco Ferreri (Italy, France, 1964, 93’, B/W)

Restoration: Cineteca di Bologna and TF1 Studio with the cooperation of Surf Film


Idi i smotri (Come and See)

by Elem Klimov (USSR, 1985, 143’, COL.)

Restoration: Mosfilm (producer of the restoration, Karen Shakhnazarov)


Into the Night

by John Landis (USA, 1985, 115’, COL.)

Restoration: Universal Pictures


Non c’è pace tra gli ulivi (Under the Olive Tree)

by Giuseppe De Santis (Italy, 1950, 107’, B/W)

Restoration: CSC-Cineteca Nazionale with the cooperation of CristaldiFilm by Zeudi Araya and Massimo Cristaldi


Novecento (1900)

by Bernardo Bertolucci (Italy, 1976, 317’, COL.)

Restoration: 20th Century Fox, Paramount Pictures, Istituto Luce - Cinecittà and Cineteca di Bologna, with the cooperation of Alberto Grimaldi and the support of Massimo Sordella


Ochazuke no Aji (Flavor of Green Tea Over Rice)

by Yasujiro Ozu (Japan, 1952, 115’, B/W)

Restoration: Shochiku Co., Ltd.


L’oeil du malin(The Third Lover)

by Claude Chabrol (France, 1962, 91’, B/W)

Restoration: Studiocanal with the support of Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée


The Old Dark House

by James Whale (USA, 1933, 72’, B/W)

Restoration: Cohen Film Collection / Cohen Media Group


The Revolt of Mamie Stover

by Raoul Walsh (USA, 1956, 93’, COL.)

Restoration: 20th Century Fox


Sansho dayu (Sansho the Bailiff)

by Kenji Mizoguchi (Japan, 1954, 126’, B/W)

Restoration: Kadokawa Corporation, The Film Foundation with the cooperation of The Japan Foundation


The Venezia Classici section will also feature the presentation of a selection of documentaries about cinema and its filmmakers. The complete list of the section will be announced during the press conference presenting the program of the Venice Film Festival, on Thursday, July 27th  at 11 am in Rome (Cinema Moderno).


Giuseppe Piccioni – Biography

Giuseppe Piccioni has directed ten movies since 1987. He has participated at many film festivals (Venice, Berlin, Moscow, Montreal, London, Toronto, Los Angeles, San Francisco), receiving awards in Italy and abroad, and has worked with Italy’s top actors. 

His film Not of this World (Fuori dal mondo, 1999), starring Margherita Buy and Silvio Orlando, received five David di Donatello Awards, four Golden Ciak Awards, the Golden Goblet for Best Producer, the Silver Hugo Award at the Chicago International Film Festival, Best Feature Film and the Grand Jury Prize at the AFI Fest in Los Angeles, and the Special Grand Prize of the Jury at the Montréal World Film Festival. The film was nominated to represent Italy at the Oscars.  

In 2001, he presented Light of My Eyes (Luce dei miei occhi) In Competition at the 58th Venice International Film Festival; the protagonists, Sandra Ceccarelli and Luigi Lo Cascio, each received a Volpi Cup for their performance.

In 2004, he released The Life That I Want (La vita che vorrei), once again starring the couple Lo Cascio-Ceccarelli. The movie was presented at the 2005 Berlin International Film Festival in the Panorama section. That same year, it participated In Competition at the Moscow International Film Festival, and at the film festivals in Edinburgh and San Francisco.

After Giulia Doesn’t Date at Night (Giulia non esce la sera,2009),starring Valeria Golino,and The Red and the Blue (Il rosso e il blu, 2012),starring Margherita Buy, Roberto Herlitzka and Riccardo Scamarcio, he directed These Days (Questi giorni, 2016), presented In Competition at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival in 2016. The film stars Maria Roveran, Marta Gastini, Laura Adriani, Caterina Le Caselle, and Margherita Buy.


Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation Sends Restored Classics to Colombia’s IndieBo Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)

Anna Marie de la Fuente

6/26/2017 12:00:00 AM

New pact includes the screening of ‘All About Eve,’ ‘One-Eyed Jacks’ and ‘On the Waterfront’

Colombia’s fledgling Bogota indie film festival, IndieBo, has scored a coup with Martin Scorsese’s Film Foundation in a pact that will have the festival screening a selection of 10 restored classics from the foundation’s library starting this year.

Among the titles in the selection are Marlon Brando’s 1961 Western “One-Eyed Jacks,” Joseph L. Mankiewicz’s “All About Eve,” Elia Kazan’s “On the Waterfront,” Frank Capra’s “It Happened One Night,” Nicholas Ray’s “Rebel Without a Cause” and Billy Wilder’s “Witness for the Prosecution.”

“This will be an annual event; some of these titles have never screened in Colombia,” said IndieBo artistic director/programmer Juan Carvajal, who cobbled the agreement with the foundation in New York.

He added: “After seeing ‘One Eyed Jacks’ and [Andrei Tarkovsky’s 1979 sci-fi epic] “Stalker” in New York, I felt that Colombia had to live this marvelous and unique experience, too, and that’s what drove me to pursue this agreement.” The festival will also be screening “Stalker” and “Reservoir Dogs” to commemorate the latter’s 25th anniversary.

“Movies touch our hearts, awaken our vision, and change the way we see things. They take us to other places. They open doors and minds. Movies are the memories of our lifetime. We need to keep them alive,” said Scorsese who created the foundation in 1990.

“Screenings at festivals like the IndieBo Film Festival in Bogota allow audiences to experience these classic works as they were meant to be seen,” he added.

“With film, as any art form, the present is in constant dialogue with the past. Our friends at IndieBo share the goal of celebrating these great works from the past as they honor the filmmakers of today,” said Margaret Bodde, Executive Director of the Film Foundation.

Founded by Paola Turbay, Alejandro Estrada and Carvajal, the festival’s 3rd edition runs from July 13 to July 23 this year. In a joint statement, they said: “It is IndieBo’s mission to change and impact Colombian society through ten days of art and culture. Through these stories we value and find necessary to show, we will expose the origins of the art we promote at a time when we feel the need to touch people’s hearts and open their minds.”

New titles in the official lineup include “God’s Own Country” by Francis Lee which won a Special Jury Award for directing at the Sundance World Cinema competition; Sally Potter’s “The Party;” Kantemir Balagov’s Fipresci prizewinning “Closeness” and Marc Greico’s “A River Below.”

IndieBO also includes Hayao Miyazaki and Satoshi Kon retrospectives.

Underscoring the festival’s mission to connect people with the latest in audiovisual technology, IndieBO will also host video-sharing website Vimeo which will present a selection of shorts including acclaimed 360 video “The Giant” that premiered at SXSW in March and a master class on online distribution. Virtual reality showcase IndieBox will again be installed at the capital’s monolithic national Heroes Monument and will include 4D interactive virtual reality experiences such as “Tree,” which screened at Sundance and Tribeca. “Caracol TV will be covering the festival even more,” said Carvajal.

The enthusiastic reception of technology and film in Colombia’s capital is no surprise given the upsurge in national filmmaking and Colombians’ propensity to adopt the latest advances in technology. Last year, IndieBo saw a spike in attendance to 45,000 and IndieBox more than 10,000 visitors. As in other years, the festival overlaps with the annual Bogota Audiovisual Market, BAM, which runs July 10-14.


'Beat the Devil' a Bogart oddity, digitally restored to its oddball fullest

Michael Phillips

6/16/2017 12:00:00 AM

In film circles, the phrase turns up constantly in the marketing of revivals: "new 4k restoration." New's good, right? Naturally. All new things must be good. Or, at any rate, new.

Before we get into the weirdest movie Humphrey Bogart ever made, let's talk about that "4k restoration" phrase. Then we'll get into how it applies to the newly restored, eternally brazen 1953 oddity "Beat the Devil," opening June 30 at the Gene Siskel Film Center.

"New 4k restoration" means a studio or an archive or a foundation has financed the cleanup and digital transfer of an existing movie. The restoration draws upon the best surviving elements of the film's original print negative, a duplicate negative and other materials.

The goal is to assemble "the fullest and best version of what's available," says Sony Pictures Executive Vice President Grover Crisp, who oversees the company's asset management, film restoration and digital mastering.

A 4k restoration refers to a horizontal screen resolution of approximately 4,000 pixels. The more pixels, the more complex the visual detail. The more complex the detail, the more you can appreciate the creases, contours and general fabulousness of Bogart's face, or the fabric of the suits his co-stars are wearing.

A typical 4k restoration offers no new footage. It's simply the sharpest digital iteration of a movie available. Whether or not it represents the optimal viewing experience is a debate for another article; the warmth of celluloid versus the harder, arguably more clinical edge of high-def digital constitutes an ongoing aesthetic battle. Recent 4k restorations of "The Third Man" or "Taxi Driver" or "Blood Simple" bring out additional shadow detail and a heightened contrast in tones and hues. But in terms of the film itself, there's nothing NEW-new about them.

Then there's "Beat the Devil," restored last year and currently making the rounds at the nation's art and specialty houses. It is a uniquely punch-drunk champion in the annals of rogue cinema. And thanks to the timely discovery of the film's uncensored international version in a London vault, contemporary curiosity-seekers are treated to four additional minutes of footage; a reordered narrative chronology; the removal of some really lazy voice-over narration spoken by Bogart; and a clearer, better, brighter visual palette than "Beat the Devil" has had in decades.

"Only phonies like it," Bogart said. (His production company put up much of the money, and lost it.) The source was a 1949 book by Anglo-Scots journalist-turned-novelist Claud Cockburn, writing under the pseudonym James Helvick because of his Communist past. His story concerned a ragtag group of international swindlers colluding and colliding along the French Riviera. The ringleader is an American, Billy Dannreuther, whom Bogart played in the screen version.

Director John Huston hated the screenplay he was stuck with. One week prior to filming on location, with all his actors lined up and ready, he nearly bailed. But David O. Selznick, the mogul husband of "Beat the Devil" co-star Jennifer Jones, suggested that a young writer named Truman Capote come to Ravello, near Naples, and take a whack at a rewrite. Along with Jones, the cast included Gina Lollobrigida as Billy's Anglophile wife; Robert Morley as one of the comical ruffians; Peter Lorre, his hair dyed to look like Capote's, as an ex-Nazi going by the name of O'Hara; and assorted other eccentrics.

Much has been written about the way "Beat the Devil" came together, barely. Capote rewrote as fast as he could, every day. Huston devised elaborate camera setups to kill time while waiting for the script pages. The cast, other than Bogart, didn't realize the ruse.

"John and I," Capote later said, referring to Huston, "decided to kid the story, to treat it as a parody." Co-star Jones, whose fabulist character speaks like an Oscar Wilde creation out of "The Importance of Being Earnest," never understood what her character was supposed to be thinking, or saying, or feeling. The plot, as recooked by Capote and Huston, moved the story's action (dominated by talk) from France to Italy. It focused on Bogart and company conspiring to sail to Africa to buy a uranium mine. In large part, "Beat the Devil" is a movie about a group of castoffs waiting for their boat to sail.

The plot wasn't a plot; Capote himself called it "a so-called plot." The tone was peculiar, amusing to some, baffling to others. A censored, reordered and even less comprehensible version played U.S. theaters. "Strange indeed" is how the Chicago Daily Tribune reviewed it.

Given the mass shrug greeting "Beat the Devil," how did it grow into a cult favorite, long before the latest restoration? Partly, it was due to a handful of critics (notably Pauline Kael) who responded to the movie's blithe artificiality and brazen indifference to playing by normal rules of screenwriting.

Last year, Sony Pictures' Crisp headed the restoration of "Beat the Devil," partnering with the Film Foundation and other funding sources.

"There are two kinds of restorations," he says. "One makes the film look as good as possible. The other is when the film, sadly, is in disarray, and is either deteriorating or pretty badly damaged, as this film was. There were parts missing. Our U.K. distributor came up with some missing footage, and the version they found in a vault in London was a revelation. It had all this other material in it, four minutes' worth. And that version told us, effectively, how we should put it all back together."

Result: The new introductory scenes focus on Jones' character in an intriguing way. The Bogart narration vanishes. The flashback structure is no more. Certain sexual aspects of the so-called storyline come through more clearly now, including dialogue about Jones waiting for Bogart to make a pass at her, and a rhyming scene (the movie tiptoes up to a double infidelity) featuring an outrageous shot of Lollobrigida's cleavage, unseen by U.S. audiences in 1953.

Fans and detractors of "Beat the Devil" can probably agree: Huston's movie was more fun to make than it was to watch. The shoot never stopped stumbling. One night, Huston fell off a cliff, a 40-foot cliff, and somehow didn't hurt himself. Bogart messed up his teeth in a car accident.

The movie in progress became a party. Famous people dropped by for a few days, drank, made merry and left again. The young, unpaid clapper boy on the shoot was always playing piano when he could; his name was Stephen Sondheim. "He liked to tinkle away on the out-of-tune piano in the hotel," recalled script supervisor Angela Allen, years later. "I said, 'I think that young man is going to go a long way.' And everyone told me how stupid I was."

Like Orson Welles' "The Lady From Shanghai" a few years earlier, "Beat the Devil" bent and stretched audience expectations to the snapping point. This is why it works so weirdly well for some people today, especially in this 4k restoration.

"When I saw it this time," says the Film Center's associate programming director Martin Rubin, "I saw it very much as a postwar atomic age film. The world's a mess, it's all going to blow up, so anything goes. There's a playful nihilism in it. And it's so self-referential. The way these characters are trying to put together their uranium scheme is like Huston and Capote trying to put together 'Beat the Devil,' right there on the spot."

"Beat the Devil," June 30-July 5, Gene Siskel Film Center, 164 N. State St.;


Le réalisateur Martin Scorsese veut restaurer et préserver les film africains

Arzouma Kompaore

6/12/2017 12:00:00 AM

L’icône du cinéma américain Martin Scorsese, la fédération panafricaine des cinéastes (FEPACI) et l’UNESCO ont signé un accord de partenariat le 7 juin dernier à l'occasion du lancement du projet Héritage du film africain. Un moment historique pour le cinéma africain auquel VOA Afrique a assisté. Exclusivité.

Précédemment annoncé lors du dernier FESPACO par Martin Scorsese lui-même, le projet Héritage du Film Africain a officiellement vu le jour lors de la signature d’un partenariat entre l’UNESCO, la Film Foundation de Martin Scorsese et la Fédération panafricaine des cinéastes, FEPACI. Une cérémonie au cours de laquelle chaque partenaire a pu réitérer son attachement au dit projet.

Aboubakar Sanogo, secrétaire regional de la FEPACI serrant la main de Martin Scorsese

Aboubakar Sanogo, secrétaire regional de la FEPACI serrant la main de Martin Scorsese

"Au départ, l’idée de la “World Cinema Foundation” était de restaurer et de rendre disponible de la meilleur façon possible, des films tournés dans des lieux qui n’ont pas les infrastructures nécessaires pour prendre soin de ces films et donc protéger leur héritage culturel." a déclaré Martin Scorsese dans son mot d'introduction. Il s'est ensuite estimé satisfait du travail déjà abattu. "Je suis très heureux que le travail ait déjà commencé au niveau du projet Héritage du Film Africain. Notre premier film restauré est “ Soleil O ” de Med Hondo, il a même été présenté au festival de Cannes cette année il y a quelques semaines de cela."

La directrice générale de l'UNESCO, Mme Irina Bokova s'est à son tour félicitée de ce nouveau partenariat qui s'inscrit selon elle en droite ligne des préoccupations de l'organisation onusienne.

"Je crois fermement au pouvoir de la culture, le pouvoir de la créativité, la liberté de créer. Et je pense qu'il n'y a rien de mieux aujourd'hui pour libérer ce potentiel de l'Afrique, que la culture et la créativité. Nous espérons qu'après leur restauration, nous pourrons les inscrire au registre de la mémoire du monde car ces films représentent l'autre pan de notre patrimoine commun. Je pense que nous ne ferons pas seulement justice à l'histoire et à la créativité africaine, mais nous encouragerons aussi les jeunes à continuer à se lancer dans de nouvelles aventures à travers des partenariats et à continuer de créer." Irina Bokova, Directrice Générale de l'UNESCO.

Mais le plus heureux de la soirée c'était incontestablement le sécrétaire régional pour l'Amérique du nord de la FEPACI, Mr. Aboubakar Sanogo, lui même professeur de cinéma à l'université de Carlson à Ottawa au canada. Il representait M. Cheick Oumar Sissoko, sécrétaire général de la FEPACI.

Pour Mr. Sanogo, cet accord est l'aboutissement du travail commencé par les pères du cinema africain. "Nous espérons que ce partenariat permettra d’explorer les voies et moyens à travers lesquels, et l’Unesco jouera probablement un rôle important de par son action de définition du cadre et son discours sur l’héritage mondial, on pourra redonner une dimension éthique au business de la préservation cinématographique." a-t-il precisé avant que les trois ne passent à la signature proprement dite.

Ce sont au total cinquante films qui ont été initialement identifiés par un comité consultatif mis sur pied par la FEPACI. Cette dernière a en charge de mener une enquête exhaustive pour localiser les meilleurs éléments cinématographiques existants pour chaque titre, dans les cinémathèques africaines et les archives cinématographiques à travers le monde.

De la gauche ver la droite: Yemani Demessie, cinéaste, professeur de cinema a NYU, Fatou Zongo, actrice burkinabé vivant à New York, Aboubakar Sanogo (FEPACI)

De la gauche ver la droite: Yemani Demessie, cinéaste, professeur de cinema a NYU, Fatou Zongo, actrice burkinabé vivant à New York, Aboubakar Sanogo (FEPACI)

Quelques acteurs du cinéma africain de New York City étaient présent. Ils s'agit de Mme. Mahen Bonetti, du festival du film africain de New York, Mr. Yemani Demessie, cinéaste éthiopien et professeur de cinema à l'université de New York (NYU), et Fatoumata Zongo, actrice burkinabè vivant à New York City.

"Plusieurs films africains produits au siècle dernier n’ont pas l’opportunité d’être vu par les cinéastes du monde, qu’ils soient africains australiens ou boliviens. C’est à travers de telles initiatives que ces films pourront faire partie du langage courant international." a soutenu Mr. Yemani Demessie.

Selon les mots du secrétaire régional de la FEPACI, "On peut retracer l’implication des africains dans le cinéma depuis au moins 1897. Nous espérons donc pouvoir avoir accès a cette partie occultée de notre histoire."

De la gauche ver la droite; Aboubakar Sanogo (FEPACI), Martin Scorsese (le Film Foundation), Irina Bokova (UNESCO)

De la gauche ver la droite; Aboubakar Sanogo (FEPACI), Martin Scorsese (le Film Foundation), Irina Bokova (UNESCO)

Dans son interview exclusive avec VOA Afrique, Martin Scorsese est revenu sur les raisons qui le poussent à faire connaitre les films africains restaurés aux américains.

"Ces films ont été fait par les Africains, sur les africains, pour les africains, pour le monde. Et il est temps de considérer cela comme un autre aspect de la culture. La pensée créative, l’action créatrice du continent entier. Le but [maintenant] est d’en éliminer l’idée de l’altérité chez les cinéastes en Amérique, les jeunes. Oui, leur montrer le caractère unique de la culture, et de qui ils sont, mais de les accepter comme étant des sources d’apprentissage, et avant tout qu’ils soient capables d’apprécier ces films africains, de ne pas les rejeter. Je pense que cela pourrait être très fructueux pour les jeunes cinéastes."

Scorsese a ensuite expliquer l'importance de donner du temps à un public donne de s'habituer au film. "Certains films peuvent ne pas plaire à certaines parties de la population. Je n'oublierai jamais mon film « Mean Streets » en 1973. Mes amis et moi, nous nous sommes dit : le film a eu du succès au festival du film de New York, alors partagez le avec le reste du pays mais Le studio s’y est opposé en disant que le film devait être projeté dans un seul endroit, afin de permettre à un public de le connaître un peu plus. Mes amis m'ont convaincu et ont convaincu le studio de lancer une sortie nationale et nous l'avons fait, et le film est mort. Ils ne l'ont pas aimé au Texas. Le Texas est différent. Voyez-vous ce que je veux dire ? Il faut préparer le public pour accepter un film. Vous devez commencer quelque part et inviter d’autres personnes à le voir. Ne le rendez pas étranger, faites en quelque chose dont nous pouvons tous apprendre et dont nous pouvons faire partie. Donc il ne s’agit pas de se jeter à l’eau. Vous devez analyser ce qu'il faut faire." Martin Scorsese, président fondateur de la Film Foundation.

L'avenir du patrimoine cinématographique africain est donc prometteur sous le regard de la légende hollywoodienne de soixante quatorze ans qui s'est récemment associé au géant de la video à la demande Netflix pour produire son tout prochain film, " The Irishman". Un film gangster dont le budget s’élève à plus de cent vingt-cinq millions de dollars.



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