The World Cinema Project (WCP) preserves and restores neglected films from around the world. To date, 35 films from Africa, Asia, Eastern Europe, Central America, South America, and the Middle East have been restored, preserved and exhibited for a global audience. The WCP also supports educational programs, including Restoration Film Schools; intensive, results-oriented workshops allowing students and professionals worldwide to learn the art and science of film restoration and preservation. All WCP titles are available for exhibition rental by clicking "Book This Film."


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INDONESIA | 1954

AFTER THE CURFEW

LEWAT DJAM MALAM

Director: Usmar Ismail

WRITTEN BY: Usmar Ismail, Asrul Sani

EDITING: Sumardjono

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Max Tera

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: G.R.W. Sinsu

SOUND: B. Saltzmann

FROM: Sinematek Indonesia

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Persari, Perfini

STARRING: A.N. Alcaff (Iskandar), Netty Herawaty (Norma), R.D. Ismail (Gunawan)

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Indonesia

LANGUAGE: Indonesian

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 101

SET DESIGNER: Abdul Chalid

Restored in 2012 by the National Museum of Singapore and Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, Konfiden Foundation, Kineforum of the Jakarta Arts Council, and the family of Usmar Ismail Estate. Restoration funded by Doha Film Institute.

Lewat Djam Malam (After the Curfew) is a passionate work looking directly at a crucial moment of conflict in Indonesian history: the aftermath of the four-year Republican revolution which brought an end to Dutch rule. This is a visually and dramatically potent film about anger and disillusionment, about the dream of a new society cheapened and misshapen by government repression on the one hand and bourgeois complacency on the other.

The film’s director, Usmar Ismail, is generally considered to be the father of Indonesian cinema, and his entire body of work was directly engaged with ongoing evolution of Indonesian society. He began as a playwright and founder of Maya, a drama collective that began during the years of Japanese occupation. And it was during this period when Ismail developed an interest in filmmaking. He began making films for Andjar Asmara in the late 40s and then started Perfini (Perusahaan Film Nasional Indonesian) in 1950, which he considered his real beginning as a filmmaker. Lewat Djam Malam, a co-production between Perfini and Djamaluddin Malik’s company Persari, was perhaps Ismail’s greatest critical and commercial success.


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

Lewat Djam Malam has been digitally restored using the original 35mm camera & sound negatives, interpositive, and positive prints preserved at the Sinematek Indonesia. The original camera negative was scanned at 4K resolution.

The digital restoration began by focusing on fixing instability and flicker followed by the meticulous work of dirt removal, carried out both by automatic tools and by a long manual process of digitally cleaning each image (frame by frame). The film also suffered from signs of mould and vinegar syndrome –the laboratory took great pains to address these problems without damaging the definition of the photographic output, specifically with regards to details and faces.

The original sound was digitally restored using the 35 mm original soundtrack negative. Two reels were missing from the soundtrack negative, and were therefore taken from the combined interpositive. The last 2 minutes of reel 5 were missing from all available elements, but were recovered from a positive copy. The soundtrack has been scanned using laser technology at 2K definition. The core of the digital sound restoration consists on several phases of manual editing, high resolution de-clicker & de-crackle, and multiple layers of fully automated noise reduction.

The restoration was completed at L’immagine Ritrovata laboratory on March 2012.

Image: © Courtesy of the Usmar Estate


IRAN | 1972

Downpour

RAGBAR

Director: Bahram Beyzaie

WRITTEN BY: Bahram Beyzaie

EDITING: Mehdi Rajaeeyan

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Barbod Taheri

PRODUCER: Barbod Taheri

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Shida Garachedaghi

STARRING: Parviz Fannizadeh, Parvaneh Masumi, Manuchehr Farid, Mohammad Ali Keshavarz, Hossein Kasbian, Jamsheed Layegh, Chehrazad

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Iran

LANGUAGE: Persian

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 122 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Mehregan Film

PRODUCER: Barbod Taheri

Restored in 2011 by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Bahram Beyzaie.  Restoration funded by Doha Film Institute. 

During Downpour, the equations of commercial and intellectual films were the same. The common morality of the action/drama films of the commercial cinema had a tone of political ideology and social activism. The intellectual films were praised for communicating with the mass culture. In that sense, I don’t want to be popular. Many of these (popular) moralities, in my opinion, are wrong and we are all victims of them. So, I have betrayed my people if I endorse them. I have deviated from the morals of the political parties, hence they have labeled me (inaccessible), not the people. At the heart of my harsh expression, there is a love and respect, for the people, that does not exist in superficial appraisals of the masses. … my audiences are those who strive to go one step further, not those who are the guardians of the old equations nor those who dread self examination and self reflexivity.  

–Bahram Beyzaie

I’m very proud that the World Cinema Foundation has restored this wise and beautiful film, the first feature from its director Bahram Bayzaie. The tone puts me in mind of what I love best in the Italian neorealist pictures, and the story has the beauty of an ancient fable – you can feel Bayzaie’s background in Persian literature, theater and poetry. Bayzaie never received the support he deserved from the government of his home country – he now lives in California – and it’s painful to think that this extraordinary film, once so popular in Iran, was on the verge of disappearing forever. The original negative has been either impounded or destroyed by the Iranian government, and all that remained was one 35mm print with English subtitles burned in. Now, audiences all over the world will be able to see this remarkable picture.  

–Martin Scorsese


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The source element was a positive print with English subtitles provided by director Bahram Beyzaie. Since this is the only known surviving copy of the film – all other film sources were seized and are presumed destroyed – the restoration required a considerable amount of both physical and digital repair.

The surviving print was badly damaged with scratches, perforation tears and mid-frame splices. Over 1500 hours of work were necessary to complete the restoration.

Image: © Courtesy of Bahram Beyzaie


MAURITANIA | 1970

SOLEIL Ô

OH, SUN!

Director: Med Hondo

WRITTEN BY: Med Hondo

EDITING: Michèle Masnier, Clément Menuet

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: François Catonné, Jean-Claude Rahaga

STARRING: Robert Liensol, Théo Légitimus, Gabriel Glissand, Mabousso Lô, Alfred Anou, Les Black Echos, Ambroise M’Bia, Akonio Dolo

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Mauritania

LANGUAGE: French and Arabic

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 98 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Grey Films, Shango Films

SET DESIGNER: Med Hondo

This restoration is part of the African Film Heritage Project, an initiative created by The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project, the Pan African Federation of Filmmakers and UNESCO--in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna--to help locate, restore and disseminate 50 African films with historic, artistic and cultural significance. 


Restored by Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in collaboration with Med Hondo. Restoration funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project.

 

I identify with Med Hondo in terms of anger and I share his obsession with history and self-reliance.
--Haile Gerima


When I wrote my script I did not have an audience in mind, I was living in France and experiencing what being a minority felt like. I had to yell and free myself. Writing the script of Soleil Ô was an authentic act of rage and liberation.

Once the script was ready, I gathered a crew of technicians and a team of African actors. Then I went to see some film processing companies and told them “Here I am, I don’t have a penny in my pocket but I want to make a film, let me have some raw film, I will reimburse you on an installment plan, and if I fail to do so you can put me in jail.” They agreed. The film cost $ 30,000 and it took almost two years to shoot because my actors were not always available.

There are different perceptions of an image. Soleil Ô is crystal clear and is neither intellectual nor sophisticated. It has often happened that those who understood it best were illiterate. When it was shown in Algeria, because the audience was completely able to identify with the film, the proletarians explained it to the intellectuals.

My main character could be a garbage collector, a student, or a teacher. His status does not prevent him from being affected in the same manner by the general conditions of history within a racist society. To be a Black expatriate is an identity. Soleil Ô derives from the African oral tradition. It depicts a unique reality. There is no dichotomy between style and content; here it is the content which imposes a style. I wanted to describe several people through one person instead of using a group of people. In my country, when people talk about a specific issue, they may digress and come back to their initial topic. Black cultures have a syntax which has nothing to do with Cartesian logic or that of other civilizations.
-- Med Hondo


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Soleil Ô was made possible through the use of a 16mm reversal print, and 16mm and 35mm dupe negatives deposited by Med Hondo at Ciné-Archives, the audiovisual archive of the French Communist Party, in Paris.

The reversal print was scanned at 4K and digital restoration eliminated dirt, scratches and mold. Despite excellent photographic quality overall, a few sequences appear slightly out-of-focus; this is true to the original cinematography.

A vintage 35mm print preserved at the Harvard Film Archive was used as a reference. Color grading was supervised by cinematographer François Catonné.

The original 16mm magnetic tracks were used for the audio restoration. After digitization, the soundtrack was cleaned and background noise reduction eliminated all noticeable wear marks; particular attention was devoted to the specific dynamics and features of the original soundtrack, namely percussion and chants. Reel 4 as well as the main and end titles were missing, so these were restored using the original 35mm soundtrack. The latter was also used to replace the 16mm mag tracks in the parts where the mix differed slightly from the vintage 35mm print.


MEXICO | 1934

DOS MONJES

TWO MONKS

Director: Juan Bustillo Oro

WRITTEN BY: Juan Bustillo Oro, José Manuel Cordero

EDITING: Juan Bustillo Oro

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Agustín Jiménez

PRODUCER: José San Vicente, Manuel San Vicente

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Max Urban

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Mariano Rodríguez, Granada, Carlos Toussaint

STARRING: Víctor Urruchúa, Carlos Villatoro, Beltrán de Heredia, Emma Roldán, Magda Haller

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Mexico

LANGUAGE: Spanish with English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Proa Films

PRODUCER: José San Vicente, Manuel San Vicente

Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project at L’immagine Ritrovata laboratory in collaboration with Filmoteca de la UNAM and Cinémathèque française. Restoration funded by the Material World Charitable Foundation.

 

 

 


MEXICO | 1946

ENAMORADA

Director: Emilio Fernández

WRITTEN BY: Iñigo de Martino, Emilio Fernández

EDITING: Gloria Schoemann

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Gabriel Figueroa

PRODUCER: Benito Alazraki Franco

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Eduardo Hernández Moncada

SOUND: José B. Carles

ART DIRECTOR: Manuel Parra

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Manuel Fontanals

STARRING: María Félix, Pedro Armendáriz, Fernando Fernández

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Mexico

LANGUAGE: Spanish with English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 99 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Panamerican Films, S.A.

SET DESIGNER: Manuel Parra

PRODUCER: Benito Alazraki Franco

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project in collaboration with Fundacion Televisa AC and Filmoteca de la UNAM. Restoration funded by the Material World Charitable Foundation.


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The 4K restoration of ENAMORADA utilized the original 35mm nitrate picture and track negatives stored by Televisa at Filmoteca de la UNAM in Mexico City. A 35mm nitrate print, provided by Filmoteca de la UNAM, was also used as a secondary element. 4K scanning and restoration was completed by Roundabout Entertainment and the audio restoration was completed by Audio Mechanics.


MEXICO | 1936

REDES

Director: Fred Zinnemann, Emilio Gómez Muriel

WRITTEN BY: Agustín Velázquez Chávez, Paul Strand

EDITING: Emilio Gómez Muriel, Gunther von Fritsch

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Paul Strand

ADAPTED BY: Emilio Gómez Muriel, Fred Zinnemann and Henwar Rodakiewicz

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Silvestre Revueltas

SOUND: Roberto, Joselito Rodriguez

FROM: Cinemateca de la UNAM, Mexico

STARRING: Silvio Hernández (Miro), David Valle González (Monopolist), Rafael Hinojosa (Politician), Antonio Lara (El Zurdo), Miguel Figueroa and native fishermen

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Mexico

LANGUAGE: Spanish with French and English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 61 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Secretaría de Educación Pública

Restored in 2009 by Cineteca di Bologna/L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Filmoteca de la UNAM. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways and Qatar Museum Authority. 

The film – the first (and last) of its kind – was expected to play a small part in the Government’s plan to educate millions of illiterate citizens throughout the enormous country and bring them out of their isolation. […] The picture was to be made for the Federal Department of Fine Arts, headed by composer Carlos Chávez. The producer would be Paul Strand. […] We had recruited practically all ‘actors’ from among the local fishermen, who needed to do no more than be themselves. They were splendid and loyal friends, and working with them was a joy. In addition to acting, they carried all the equipment, rowed the boats and did a multitude of other jobs, earning more money than ever before – forty-five cents per day, per man – and enjoying themselves hugely. […] I’m told that some years later the Nazis found the negative in Paris and burned it. A few prints still exist. –Fred Zinnemann


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Redes used the best surviving materials, namely a 35mm safety duplicate negative and a positive print preserved at the Filmoteca de la UNAM in Mexico. The digital restoration produced a new 35mm internegative.

Image: © Courtesy of Filmoteca de la UNAM


MOROCCO | 1978

ALYAM, ALYAM

Director: Ahmed El Maanouni

WRITTEN BY: Ahmed El Maanouni

EDITING: Martine Chicot

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Ahmed El Maanouni

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Nass el Ghiwane

SOUND: Ricardo Castro

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Rabii Films

STARRING: Toualàa villagers (Oulad Ziane) in the Casablanca region, and in particular: Abdelwahad and his family, Tobi, Afandi Redouane and Ben Brahim

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Morocco

LANGUAGE: Arabic, French with English subtitles

COLOR INFO: B&W

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with Ahmed El Maanouni.  Restoration funded by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project. 

Alyam, Alyam is a film about shattered dreams and the circumstances leading up to that point; about the shaking of the traditional social structure; about the strength born of desperation and the unrelenting dissipation of lost generations. This is stressed from the first notes of the opening music, by the strangely empty building frame that is slowly filled with people, by the village space, by the silence of the wandering woman who smokes, until the last shot of the film, when a crowd appears from behind a deserted hill. The dreams of a society growing smaller, unable to hold on to the resources that could help it survive, are mirrored by the mother’s helpless prayer, “I need your shadow, I need your light, I need your face.”

I simply wanted to show the farmers’ faces, to honor their sounds and their images, their silences and their words, and that’s why I chose not to interfere and to opt for deliberately restrained composition, movement and mise-enscène. I tried to minimize the camera’s ability to distort, make a point, or discriminate. I wanted each aspect to be presented equally. I did not look for spectacular beauty, but made an effort to let the imagery of the rural world speak through abstraction and silence.

Almost 40 years later, when I watch Alyam, Alyam again, I am still comfortable with my aesthetic choices and my intuitions, but I cannot avoid noticing how, from beginning to end – from the opening shots with the blood shed by the camels, to the crowd of peasants appearing from behind the hills – it all seemed to presage the current tragedy experienced by the thousands whose broken dreams lie at the bottom of the Mediterranean, on which the voice of Nass El Ghiwane’s Larbi Batma seems to strangely resonate: “Alyam, Alyam, oh, those were the days! Why are you crossed? Who changed your course? You were once sweet like milk, now you’re bitter. I love all men as if they were my brothers. My brothers have crushed me. I will silence my pain and let my love be loud.”

- Ahmed El Maanouni


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Alyam, Alyam used the 16mm A/B rolls original camera and sound negatives preserved at Eclair Laboratories, where the 4K scan was performed. Restoration - carried out at Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata - succeeded in stabilizing the image and bringing the original chromatic qualities to light. Director Ahmed El Maanouni supervised the color grading process and approved the final restoration.


MOROCCO | 1981

TRANCES

EL HAL

Director: Ahmed El Maanouni

WRITTEN BY: Ahmed El Maanouni

EDITING: Jean-Claude Bonfanti

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Ahmed El Maanouni

PRODUCER: Izza Génini

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Nass El Ghiwane

STARRING: Nass El Ghiwane

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Morocco

LANGUAGE: Arabic

COLOR INFO: Color

RUNNING TIME: 87 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: OHRA/SOGEAV

PRODUCER: Izza Génini

Restored in 2007 by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, Ahmed El-Maanouni, and Izza Genini. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways and Qatar Museum Authority. 

“It was in 1981 while I was editing a film, The King of Comedy. We worked at night so no one would call us on the telephone and I would have television on, and one channel in New York at the time, around 2 or 3 in the morning, was showing a film called Transes. It repeated all night and it repeated many nights. And it had commercials in it, but it didn’t matter. So I became passionate about this music that I heard and I saw also the way the film was made, the concert that was photographed and the effect of the music on the audience at the concert. I tracked down the music and eventually it became my inspiration for many of the designs and construction of my film The Last Temptation of Christ. […] And I think the group was singing damnation: their people, their beliefs, their sufferings and their prayers all came through their singing. And I think the film is beautifully made by Ahmed El Maanouni; it’s been an obsession of mine since 1981 and that is why we are inaugurating the Foundation with Trances.” –Martin Scorsese, May 2007


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

Notes on the restoration
The restoration of Transes used the original 16mm camera and sound negative provided by producer Izza Génini. The camera negative was restored both photochemically and digitally and blown-up to 35mm format. The sound negative was restored to Dolby SR and digital.

Image: © Courtesy of OHRA-Izza Génini


PHILIPPINES | 1976

INSIANG

Director: Lino Brocka

WRITTEN BY: Mario O’Hara and Lamberto Antonio

EDITING: Augusto Salvado

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Conrado Baltazar

PRODUCER: Miguel De Leon Severino

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Max Jocson

SOUND: Luis Reyes, Ramon Reyes

STARRING: Hilda Koronel, Mona Lisa, Ruel Vernal, Rez Cortez, Marlon Ramirez

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Philippines

LANGUAGE: Tagalog with French and English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Color

RUNNING TIME: 124 minutes

PRODUCER: Miguel De Leon Severino

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna/ L’Immagine Ritrovata. Restoration funded by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the Film Development Council of the Philippines.

I’m so pleased that Insiang, the second of the great Lino Brocka’s films that we’ve managed to restore, has been selected for this year’s Cannes Classics: back in 1976, this extraordinary family melodrama was the first picture from the Philippines ever selected for Cannes. Brocka was like a force of nature in world cinema, and Insiang was among his greatest achievements.  - Martin Scorsese, May 2015

Insiang is, first and foremost a character analysis: a young woman raised in a miserable neighborhood. I need this character to recreate the ‘violence’ stemming from urban overpopulation, to show the annihilation of a human being, the loss of human dignity caused by the physical and social environment and to stress the need for changes to these life conditions […] My characters always react through fighting. I have conceived Insiang like an immoral story: two women share the same man, the daughter avenges herself and, in the end, she reveals herself: she had conspired to kill her mother’s lover without having ever loved him, so that the murder was, in fact, unnecessary. Censorship refused this ending.”   - Lino Brocka

In 1977 I was in Sydney for the film festival. Before going home, I zigzagged my way back through Jakarta, Singapore, Kuala Lumpur, Hong-Kong, Manila and Seoul, to discover a new filmmaker and an unknown film: Insiang by Lino Brocka. When Insiang was released on December 17, 1976, it did not do well, and led to the collapse of CineManila, the company founded by Brocka in 1974 after the extraordinary success of Tinimbang Ka Ngunit Kulang. The shooting of Insiang began on December 1 and lasted 11 days. Knowing these dates is important as they reveal the extreme urgency he felt, and his unique, authentic desire to make this film. Insiang also presents an unusual, brilliant mise-en-scène which shows the characters being torn apart by passion, by a sort of ardent energy. I am very pleased that, two years after Manila in the Claws of Light, Cannes Classics is showcasing another restoration of a Brocka film. I still remember the excitement, along rue Antibes, surrounding the screening of Insiang at the Quinzaine de Réalisateurs, in 1978. That was a very fulfilling and emotional experience, and I’m sure the same will be true today.  -  Pierre Rissient


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Insiang was made possible through the use of the original camera and sound negatives deposited at LTC laboratories by producer Ruby Tiong Tan. 

The negative was wet-scanned at 4K resolution and digital restoration was very time-consuming. Some portions of the film, where the negative was intercut to the internegative were extremely damaged and two shots were replaced by use of a 35mm positive print preserved at the BFI National Archive.

Despite an overall acceptable state of preservation, the original optical sound negative presented critical recording issues. The sound restoration required considerable effort to try and solve or minimize the severe metallic hiss and distortions. Several acquisition methods were tested, leaving, however, very little room for improvement.


PHILIPPINES | 1975

Manila in the Claws of Light

MAYNILA SA MGA KUKO NG LIWANAG

Director: Lino Brocka

EDITING: Edgardo Jarlego, Ike Jarlego

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Miguel De Leon

ADAPTED BY: Edgardo Reyes

PRODUCER: Miguel De Leon, Severino Manotok

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Max Jocson

SOUND: Luis Reyes, Ramon Reyes

ART DIRECTOR: Miguel De Leon

STARRING: Bembel Roco, Hilda Koronel, Rafael Roco Jr., Lou Salbador Jr., Tommy Abuel, Jojo Abella, Juling Badabaldo

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Philippines

LANGUAGE: Tagalog with French and English subtitles

COLOR INFO: color

RUNNING TIME: 124’

PRODUCER: Miguel De Leon, Severino Manotok

Restored in 2013 by the Film Development Council of the Philippines and Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project , LVN, Cinema Artists Philippines and Mike De Leon. Restoration funded by Doha Film Institute.

There are undoubtedly a few people left who still remember that day in Cannes 1978 when rumors started circulating about a small, low budget film from the Philippines. A ‘dirty’ film, as some claimed, once more proving Lu Xun correct when he observed that while some art might originate in the sewer, it can be so full of passion that it goes as deep as tragedy.

And perhaps even further, because Lino was one of the most physical filmmakers that cinema has ever had. A true fireball, he moved insatiably from one set to rehearsals of Larawan in Fort Santiago where he directed a very dedicated group of actors, then on to a TV set where he would shoot a TV show in addition to a film as good as A Streetcar Named Desire.

He possessed a remarkable vitality that was expressed fully in the large demonstrations he organized against Marcos’ regime. With the money he made with his commercial films he bought some sophisticated sound equipment that allowed him to cover the entire Epifanio de los Santos Avenue, Manila’s massive north to south transportation corridor. Lino knew all the arteries of this swarming city, and he penetrated them just as he penetrated the veins of the outcasts in his films. Sometimes a vein would crack open and bleed. And that blood oozed on the screen with Insiang, Jaguar, Bona, Bayanko, all of which were shown in Cannes. And then, just like that, he died, in a stupid, easily avoidable car accident.

I remember a dinner, five weeks after Marcos’ fall, when Lino had realized that the Aquino regime would lead nowhere. He was no longer the same, nor were his films. He even lost his ability to joyfully seize the moment, which he was able to spread around among his friends.

Still, when you watch Manila, you’ll be burned by a flame that never goes out.

-Pierre Rissient, May 2013

 

A film director can survive in a museum, on a field or in the jungle – first, second or third world. In the third-world jungle he will be judged by his ability to survive, by the way he insists on making committed films and on believing in the power of cinema, even if no one ever asked him to do so. The rest stands on its own two feet. The aesthetics is a consequence.

A third-world filmmaker necessarily has to reinvent his own brand new cinema, squeezed by the rule of immediate profit (tougher in cinema than anywhere else), and the risk of a brutal clash with power. These are the directors who affect us deeply. Satyajit Ray in the 50’s, Ousmane Sembène in the 60’s, Lino Brocka at the end of the 60’s, and again Lino Brocka at the end of the ‘70s and today. [...]

Ultra-fast, fiercely vital, unclassifiable, this little man exists right in the heart of his country. He knows and experiences all the contradictions of Filipino culture and cinema. Brocka is not a solitary hero, he is a public figure; though marginal, exposed, and slandered, he is protected by his fame abroad. He has some key traits in common with Pasolini: a respect for “lower” culture, a feeling for the beauty of the body, a willingness to dissect the social links that the bodies represent.

Brocka loves flinging his characters into the traps of mise en scène, he never turns away when they are overwhelmed by emotion, and once they are cornered, neither can we.

-Serge Daney, 1981


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Maynila: sa mga kuko ng liwanag was made possible through the use of the original camera and sound negatives deposited by Pierre Rissient, on behalf of Lino Brocka, at the BFI National Archive in the early 1980s. The state of conservation of the negatives was critical.

The negative was wet-scanned at 4K resolution. The digital restoration process required considerable effort due to the great number of issues affecting the negative: tears, scratches, warping, visible marks and halos.

Color decay was also a significant problem. The film’s cinematographer, Mike De Leon, attentively guided the grading phase and validated a positive print for reference.

Image: © Courtesy of Film Development Council of the Philippines


SENEGAL | 1966

BLACK GIRL

LA NOIRE DE...

Director: Ousmane Sembène

WRITTEN BY: Ousmane Sembène

EDITING: André Gaudier

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Christian Lacoste

ASSISTANT CAMERAMAN: Ibrahima Barro

STARRING: Mbissine Thérèse Diop, Anne-Marie Jelinek, Robert Fontaine, Momar Nar Sene, Ibrahima Boy

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Senegal

LANGUAGE: French with English Subtitles

COLOR INFO: B&W

RUNNING TIME: 65 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Les Films Domirev

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna/ L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with the Sembène Estate, Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, INA, Eclair laboratories and the Centre National de Cinématographie. Restoration funded by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project. 

Black Girl, or La Noire de…, was the first of Ousmane Sembène’s pictures to make a real impact in the west, and I can clearly remember the effect it had when it opened in New York in 1969, three years after it came out in Senegal. An astonishing movie—so ferocious, so haunting, and so unlike anything we’d ever seen. 
- Martin Scorsese, May 2015

I am not for “social realism” nor for a “cinema of signs” with slogans and demonstrations. For me revolutionary cinema is something else. If we managed to set up a group of cinéastes who all make cinema directed in the same direction, I believe that then we could influence a little bit of the destinies of our country. I think that the film, more than the book, can crystallize an awakening within the masses. I am personally inspired much by the example of Brecht.
- Ousmane Sembène

In 1961, shortly after Senegal declared its independence from France, Ousmane Sembène, a self-educated dockworker, assigned himself an impossible task: to create a true African cinema as a “night school” for his people. is explosive debut—a film described as the first African feature (true in spirit, if not in fact)—inspired a form of fearless, socially engaged, and uncompromising cinema across the globe. La Noire de … (Black Girl) follows a young girl lured to France by a white bourgeoisie couple, who keep her locked in their flat as a housekeeper. As the daily and unrelenting indignities unfold, Diouana, the title character, literally loses her voice. Sembène highlights her silence, familiar to the voiceless across the globe, yet reveals Diouana’s immense dignity and, by the end, agency. He draws visually from the French Nouvelle Vague (in a film about racial and class divides, the black-and-white photography carries new power) and spiritually from the Italian neorealists, but the film’s heart and soul is African. By turning around the camera—used for 100 years to demean Black people—Sembène offers us the first humanistic gaze at Africans.

But the film (shot mostly in Dakar) also remains a seminal work of cinematic art, as it unfolds with startling precision and decisiveness, providing revealing, unforgettable and richly metaphoric perspective on a never-beforeseen Africa. La Noire de … became a sensation at festivals from Carthage to Pyongyang, and Sembène became the first non-French recipient of the Prix Jean Vigo, given previously to Alain Resnais, Chris Marker, Claude Chabrol and Jean-Luc Godard. In the film’s culminating moment, a boy grabs a mask and haunts the white businessman who entrapped Diouana. As this child pulls the mask from his face, we wonder: Will a new Africa emerge? Nearly 50 years after its initial screenings, the visionary La Noire de … remains a gorgeous, shocking and of-the-moment African story.
- Samba Gadjigo and Jason Silverman


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of La Noire de… was made possible through the use of the original camera and sound negative provided by INA and the Sembène Estate and preserved at the CNC – Archives Françaises du Film.

In order to try and minimize the presence of visible spots (due to processing errors and aggravated by time) and scratches on the image, the camera negative was wet-scanned at 4K resolution. Due mainly to these two issues, the digital restoration required considerable efforts. A vintage print preserved at the Cinémathèque Française was used as reference.


SENEGAL | 1963

Borom Sarret

Director: Ousmane Sembène

WRITTEN BY: Ousmane Sembene

EDITING: Andre Gaudier

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Christian Lacoste

ASSISTANT CAMERAMAN: Ibrahima Barro

FROM: INA/Éclair/Cineteca/Sembene Family

STARRING: Ly Abdoulay, Albourah

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Senegal

LANGUAGE: French and Wolof

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 22'

ON COMPANY: INA

Restored in 2013 by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory and Laboratoires Éclair, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, the Institut National de l’Audiovisuel, and the Sembène Estate.  Restoration funded by Doha Film Institute.

I think given the fact that there is such a diversity of languages in Africa, we, African filmmakers, will have to find our own way in order to ensure that the message be understood by everyone, or we’ll have to find a language that comes from the image and the gestures. I think I would go as far as to say that we will have to go back and see some of the silent films and in that way find new inspiration.

Contrary to what people think, we talk a lot in Africa but we talk when it’s time to talk. There are also those who say blacks spend all of their time dancing – but we dance for reasons which are our own.

Dancing is not a flaw in itself, but I never see an engineer dancing in front of his machine, and a continent or a people do not spend its time dancing.

All of this means that the African filmmaker’s work is very important – he must find a way that is his own, he must find his own symbols, even create symbols if he has to.

[...] I then realized Borom Sarret, my first true short film. It is the story of a cartman who is, to some extent, the taxi driver of a horse-drawn cart. Confronted by a rich customer in a residential district prohibited to such a type of vehicle, a cop stops him, makes a complaint, and seizes the cart. Relieved of his livelihood, the poor fellow remains sadly in his place. His wife entrusts the guardianship of their children to him while saying to him “We will eat this evening…” For this I got the first work prize at the Festival of Tours in 1963.

     -Ousmane Sembène


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Borom Sarret was made possible through the use of the original camera and sound negatives provided by INA and preserved at Éclair Laboratories.

The film was scanned in 4K at Éclair Laboratories and restored at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory. The image was digitally stabilized and cleaned, and all wear marks were eliminated. Image grading helped recover the richness of the original cinematography.

After scanning, the sound was digitally cleaned and background noise reduction was applied to eliminate all wear marks, without losing any of the dynamic features of the original soundtrack.

The World Cinema Foundation would like to specially thank Alain Sembène and the Sembène Family for facilitating the restoration process.

Image: © Courtesy of INA


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