The World Cinema Project (WCP) preserves and restores neglected films from around the world. To date, 39 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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BRAZIL | 1931

LIMITE

Director: Mário Peixoto

WRITTEN BY: Mário Peixoto

EDITING: Mário Peixoto

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Edgar Brazil

PRODUCER: Mário Peixoto

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Brutus Pedreira (themes from Satie, Debussy, Borodin, Stravinsky, Prokofiev)

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Rui Costa

FROM: Cinemateca Brasileira, São Paulo

STARRING: Olga Breno (Woman #1); Taciana Rei (Woman #2); Carmen Santos (The Whore); Mario Peixoto (The Man at the cemetery); Brutus Pedreira (Man #2 and the pianist); Edgar Brazil (The Man asleep at the cinema); Faciana Rei; Raul Schnoor

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Brazil

LANGUAGE: Silent

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Cinédia

PRODUCER: Mário Peixoto

Restored in 2010 by the Cinemateca Brasileira and Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, Arquivo Mario Peixoto, Saulo Pereira de Mello, and Walter Salles.  Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways and Qatar Museum Authority. 

Limite does not intend to analyse. It shows. It projects itself as a tuning fork, a pitch, a resonance of time itself. –Mário Peixoto

Then came the revelation of Limite, the first and only film by 21-year-old director Mário Peixoto. This was a film of transcendent poetry and boundless imagination. Once again, I found myself in a state of shock, not only because of the film itself, which was made in 1931 and forgotten for many years, but also for the evidence it bore, that of our creative diversity. –Walter Salles


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

Restored by the World Cinema Foundation at Cineteca di Bologna / L’Immagine Ritrovata Laboratory in collaboration with the Cinemateca Brasileira and Walter Salles.

Image: © Courtesy of Mário Peixoto Archive/ Cinemateca Brasileira


ARGENTINA | 1939

PRISIONEROS DE LA TIERRA

Director: Mario Soffici

WRITTEN BY: Ulyses Petit de Murat, Darío Quiroga

EDITING: Gerardo Rinaldi, José de Nico

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Pablo Tabernero

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Lucio Demare

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Ralph Pappier

STARRING: Ángel Magaña (Esteban Podeley), Elisa Galvé (Andrea), Francisco Petrone (Köhner), Homero Cárpena, Raúl De Lange, Roberto Fugazot

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Argentina

LANGUAGE: Spanish and Guaranì with English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Pampa Films

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project in association with the Museo del Cine Pablo Ducros Hicken with elements provided by the Cinémathèque Française and the Narodni Filmovy Archiv.

Funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

PRISIONEROS DE LA TIERRA was restored using the best existing elements: a first generation 35mm positive print held at La Cinémathèque française and a recently rediscovered third generation 35mm positive print preserved by the Narodni Filmovy Archiv. For its overall completeness and photographic quality, the first generation 35mm positive print was used to restore the image, while the third generation 35mm positive print was the primary source for sound restoration.

A 16mm dupe negative, provided by the Museo del Cine, has been also been studied and compared as a reference. Color grading was supervised by Paula Félix Didier, director of the Museo del Cine Pablo Ducros Hicken.


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.


TURKEY | 1964

DRY SUMMER

SUSUZ YAZ

Director: Metin Erksan

WRITTEN BY: Necati Cumali, Metin Erksan Kemal Ínci, Ísmet Soydan

EDITING: Turgut Ínangiray

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Ali Ugur

PRODUCER: Ulvi Dogan

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Ahmet Yamaç

SOUND: Turgut Ínangiray

STARRING: Ulvi Dogan (Hassan), Erol Tas (Osman), Hülya Koçyigit (Bahar)

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Turkey

LANGUAGE: Turkish with French and English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 75 minutes

PRODUCER: Ulvi Dogan

Restored in 2008 by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, Ulvi Dogan, and Fatih Akim. Additional elements provided by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways and Qatar Museum Authority.

Dry Summer is a film of passion. A passion for water as well as the obsessive passion created by forbidden love. […] Dry Summer is a film of captivity… Authorities at the time objected to Dry Summer representing Turkey overseas, which presented all kinds of obstacles when the film came to the Berlin Film Festival. The film walked away with the Golden Bear, but before success could even be celebrated it was ‘taken captive’ and completely forgotten for the next 45 years. Today, in these times of intellectually dry summers, when greed is driving humanity to the brink of starvation, this film could hardly be more valid. Dry Summer is one of the most important legacies of Turkish cinema, and thanks to restoration it can be re-discovered by the next generations of audiences all over the world. –Fatih Akin, May 2008


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Susuz Yaz used the original 35mm camera negative and the original 17.5 mm sound negative and recaptured the black and white film’s tonal nuances. The film’s producer, Ulvi Dogan, provided the prints. An interpositive preserved at the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Stiftung in Wiesbaden was used for the negative’s last missing reel. The opening and closing credits, missing from all available sources, have been digitally reconstructed.

Image: © Courtesy of Ulvi Doğan


ALGERIA | 1975

CHRONICLE OF THE YEARS OF FIRE

WAQAI SANAWAT AL-DJAMR

Director: Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina

WRITTEN BY: Rachid Boudjedra, Tewfik Fares, Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Marcello Gatti

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Philippe Arthuys

STARRING: Yorgo Voyagis (Ahmed), Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina (Milud), Leïla Shenna (moglie di Ahmed), Cheikh Nourredine (Si Larbi), Larbi Zekkal (Smaïl), Sid Ali Kouiret, Nadia Talbi, Taha El Amiri, Abdelhalim Rais, Brahim Hadjadj, Hassan El Hassani

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Algeria

LANGUAGE: Arabic and French with English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Color

RUNNING TIME: 177 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: ONCIC (Office National Commerce Industrie Cinéma)

Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna at L’Image Retrouvée and L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratories. Restoration funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation.

This restoration is part of the African Film Heritage Project, created by The Film Foundation, FEPACI and UNESCO – in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna – to help locate, restore, and disseminate African cinema.

 

I tried to recount, with dignity and nobility, this uprising that then became the Algerian Revolution, an uprising not only against the coloniser, but against a certain human condition. I wanted to avoid any kind of Manichaean, caricatural and demagogic approach, which risked turning Waqai sanawat al-djamr into a sort of Western; good against evil, Algerians against French. What guided me was the quest for honesty: I looked inside myself for the honesty of a child, the eyes of the child I once was, the memories of my childhood. […] It would be a serious mistake to distinguish Algerian Cinema, the cinema of the Maghreb, from African Cinema. The cinema of the Third World is one – the Arab World, Africa, Latin America, the Middle East, Asia – as we share the same motivations, the same difficulties, and a common destiny, on an artistic level and on an expressive level. We have suffered hunger and thirst. We will reclaim our image.

Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina, interviewed by Claude Dupont, “Cahiers de la cinémathèque”,

Summer 1975


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

Restored in 4K from the original camera and sound negatives and a first generation 35mm interpositive provided by the filmmaker.

Three different cuts exist of this film: upon Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina's wish, this restoration reconstructed the version that was awarded the Palme d'or at the Cannes Film Festival in 1975. 

The original camera negative, outtakes from the same element, and the interpositive were integrated to match a 35mm vintage print provided by the filmmaker as a reference. Color grading was supervised by Mohammed Lakhdar-Hamina.


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


INDIA | 1973

River Called Titas, A

TITAS EKTI NADIR NAAM

Director: Ritwik Ghatak

WRITTEN BY: Advaita Malla Burman, Ritwik Ghatak

EDITING: Basheer Hussain

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Baby Islam

PRODUCER: Habibur Rahman Khan

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Ustad Bahadur Khan

STARRING: Kabari Choudhury (Rajar Jhi), Roushan Jamil (Mother), Probir Mitra (Kishore), Ritwik Ghatak (Tilakchand), Rani Sarkar (Mungli), Sufia Rustam (Udaytara), Rosi Smad (Basanti)

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: India

LANGUAGE: Bengali with French/English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 158 minutes

ON COMPANY: Ribatan Ghatak/Ritwik Memorial Trust; National Film Archive of India; Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv

PRODUCER: Habibur Rahman Khan

Restored in 2010 by Cineteca di Bologna /L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with Ritwik Memorial Trust, the National Film Archive of India, and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project. Additional film elements provided by the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv. Restoration funded by Doha Film Institute.

If you were eighteen years old, growing up in New Delhi, a student of cinema, a cinephile or a plain film snob, it was given that you would swoon over the film-maker Ritwik Ghatak and spend endless hours in the Delhi University canteen discussing his films, his alcoholism, and his eventual death from Tuberculosis. An ‘avant garde’ Writer and Director, Ghatak had caught the imagination of many of us who carried Mao’s Red Book’ and quoted liberally from it (in English) at the drop of a hat. After all, didn’t Ghatak (a card carrying Communist) film the extreme poverty and the cultural extinction of Bengal by Imperialism? Because of the political ‘din’ surrounding much of Ghatak’s work, ironically the work itself, as opposed to the man’s personality and politics, got neglected by the legion of his die-hard fans (me included!). It was only years later when I saw his epic, A River Called Titas, that I swooned for totally different reasons. The film is a work of pure genius. A passionate elegy for a dying culture, it moved me profoundly, and continues to haunt me to this day. Based on a novel by the Bengali author Advaita Barman and adapted for the screen by Ghatak, A River Called Titas, tells the raw and powerful story of a dying river and a dying culture.
–Deepa Mehta, May 2010


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of A River called Titas used the camera and sound negatives and a positive print provided by the Ritwik Memorial Trust and held at the National Film Archive of India. As the original negative is incomplete and some reels were severely damaged, a combined lavender and a positive print provided by the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv were also used. The digital restoration produced a new 35 mm internegative.

Image: © Courtesy of Ritaban Ghatak - Ritwik Memorial Trust


ARMENIA | 1969

SAYAT NOVA

COLOR OF POMEGRANATES, THE

Director: Sergei Parajanov

WRITTEN BY: Sergei Parajanov

EDITING: Maria Ponomarenko

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Suren Shakhbazian

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Tigran Mansurian

SOUND: Yuri Sayadyan

ART DIRECTOR: Stepan Andranikian, Mikhail Arakelian

STARRING: Sofiko Chiaureli (the Poet as a youth, the Poet’s Beloved, the Nun in White Lace, the Angel of the Resurrection, the Pantomime), Melkon Alekian (the Poet as a child), Vilen Galustian (the Poet as a monk), Georgi Gegechkori (the Poet in Old Age), Hovhannes (Onik) Minsasian (the King), Spartak Bagashvili (the Poet’s father), Medea Japaridze (the Poet’s mother), Grigori Margarian (Sayat Nova’s teacher)

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Armenia

LANGUAGE: Armenian

COLOR INFO: Color

RUNNING TIME: 77 minutes

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, in association with the National Cinema Centre of Armenia and Gosfilmofond of Russia. Restoration funded by the Material World Charitable Foundation.

And what about the fate of the picture now? Armenia showed this film, sent people to see it. I wouldn’t say that the people understand the picture, but they go as if to a celebration. […] Every layer of society is going – they sense their genes in the picture. It wasn’t the subject, it wasn’t the established canons of the fate of the poet – conflict with the tsar, conflict at court, the banishing of the poet from the palace, wordly life, the monastery – these were not the point of my scenario, but the colors, the accessories, the details, of the daily life that accompanied the poetry. Here I was trying to portray the art in life, rather than portray life in art. The other way around, so that art is reflected in life. […] The picture is very primitive in its structure: there was childhood, there was youth, there was love, there was the monastery, there were the stones. The beloved was a stone, the cell was the beloved, the beloved, her breast is glorified in verse, the rose is glorified in verse. Then there was the thought: my throat is dry, I am ill. The poet dies. Everything is so simple, clear, as in the fate of a great poet, an ashugh, a minstrel.
- Sergei Parajanov

 

Watching Sergei Parajanov’s The Color of Pomegranates, or Sayat Nova, is like opening a door and walking into another dimension, where time has stopped and beauty has been unleashed. On a very basic level, it’s a biography of the Armenian poet Sayat Nova, but before all else it’s a cinematic experience, and you come away remembering images, repeated expressive movements, costumes, objects, compositions, colors. Sayat Nova lived in the 18th century, but the look and movement of the film seem to have come out of the middle ages or an even earlier time: Parajanov’s cinematic tableaux feel like they’ve been carved in wood or stone, and the colors seem to have naturally materialized from the images over hundreds of years. There’s nothing else quite like this picture. For many years, it’s been a dream to see The Color of Pomegranates restored to the form originally intended by Parajanov. This restoration represents years of painstaking work by many people. As always, I would like to thank our colleagues and partners at the Cineteca di Bologna and L’Immagine Ritrovata as well as all the individuals and organizations who have supported this challenging project and dedicated an enormous amount of time and energy to preserve Parajanov’s oeuvre.
- Martin Scorsese


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

45 years after its Armenian release, the film is premiered at Cannes Classics in its restored version, as Parajanov originally conceived it. Both the Armenian (also known as “Parajanov’s cut”) and Russian (Sergei Yutkevic’s) versions have been preserved and restored. The restoration used the original camera negative preserved at Russia’s Gosfilmofond, as well as the 35mm dupe negative held by the National Cinema Centre of Armenia.

The original camera negative has been scanned in 4K by Gosfilmofond in Russia and restored by L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna. The sound restoration was made from the original magnetic track, preserved by Gosfilmofond, in addition to the Armenian reference print. A vintage print of the film, produced on Orwo stock and preserved by the Harvard Film Archive, was used as a reference for the grading phase.

The Russian version of The Color of Pomegranates has also been preserved for posterity.

Image: © Courtesy of the Parajanov Museum, Yerevan


EGYPT | 1969

ELOQUENT PEASANT, THE

SHAKAVI EL FLASH EL FASI

Director: Shadi Abdel Salam

WRITTEN BY: Shadi Abdel Salam

EDITING: Kamal Abou El Ella

STARRING: Ahmed Marei (Peasant); Ahmed Enan (The Great Stewart); Ahmed Hegazi (Thutenakht)

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Egypt

LANGUAGE: Arabic

COLOR INFO: Color

RUNNING TIME: 21 minutes

Restored in 2010 by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, and the Egyptian Film Center. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways and Qatar Museum Authority. 

Based on one of the major literary texts survived from the Middle Kingdom, the classical period of Egyptian literature, The Eloquent Peasant is a combination of a morality/folk tale and a poem. The events are set between 2160 and 2025 BC. When the peasant Khun-anup and his donkey stumble upon the lands of the noble Rensi, the peasant’s goods are confiscated and he’s unjustly accused of theft. The peasant petitions Rensi who is so taken by the peasant’s eloquence that he report his astonishing discovery to the king. The king realises the peasant has been wronged but delays judgement so as to he can hear more of his eloquence. The peasant makes a total of nine petitions until finally, his goods are returned.


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The Eloquent Peasant has been restored using the original 35mm camera and sound negatives preserved at the Egyptian Film Center in Giza. The digital restoration produced a new 35 mm internegative. Special thanks to the Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Image: © Courtesy of Egyptian Film Centre


EGYPT | 1969

AL MOMIA

NIGHT OF COUNTING THE YEARS, THE

Director: Shadi Abdel Salam

WRITTEN BY: Shadi Abdel Salam

EDITING: Kamal Abou El Ella

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Abdel Aziz Fahmi

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Mario Nascimbene

FROM: Egyptian Film Centre

STARRING: Ahmed Marei (Wannis), Ahmed Hegazi (Brother), Zouzou Hamdi El Hakim (Mother), Nadia Lofti (Zeena)

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Egypt

LANGUAGE: Arabic with French and English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Color

RUNNING TIME: 103 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Egyptian General Cinema Organization

SET DESIGNER: Salah Marei

Restored in 2009 by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, and the Egyptian Film Center. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways, Qatar Museum Authority and the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.  

Momia, which is commonly and rightfully acknowledged as one of the greatest Egyptian films ever made, is based on a true story: in 1881, precious objects from the Tanite dynasty started turning up for sale, and it was discovered that the Horabat tribe had been secretly raiding the tombs of the Pharaohs in Thebes. A rich theme, and an astonishing piece of cinema. The picture was extremely difficult to see from the 70s onward. I managed screen a 16mm print which, like all the prints I’ve seen since, had gone magenta. Yet I still found it an entrancing and oddly moving experience, as did many others. I remember that Michael Powell was a great admirer. Momia has an extremely unusual tone – stately, poetic, with a powerful grasp of time and the sadness it carries. The carefully measured pace, the almost ceremonial movement of the camera, the desolate settings, the classical Arabic spoken on the soundtrack, the unsettling score by the great Italian composer Mario Nascimbene – they all work in perfect harmony and contribute to the feeling of fateful inevitability. Past and present, desecration and veneration, the urge to conquer death and the acceptance that we, and all we know, will turn to dust… a seemingly massive theme that the director, Shadi Abdel Salam, somehow manages to address, even emobody with his images. Are we obliged to plunder our heritage and everything our ancestors have held sacred in order to sustain ourselves for the present and the future? What exactly is our debt to the past? The picture has a sense of history like no other, and it’s not at all surprising that Roberto Rossellini agreed to lend his name to the project after reading the script. And in the end, the film is strangely, even hauntingly consoling – the eternal burial, the final understanding of who and what we are… am very excited that Shadi Abdel Salam’s masterpiece has been restored to original splendor. 
–Martin Scorsese, May 2009


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Al Momia used the original 35mm camera and sound negatives preserved at the Egyptian Film Center in Giza. The digital restoration produced a new 35mm internegative. The film was restored with the support the Egyptian Ministry of Culture.

Image: © Courtesy of Egyptian Film Centre


CÔTE D'IVOIRE | 1969

LA FEMME AU COUTEAU

WOMAN WITH THE KNIFE, THE

Director: Timité Bassori

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Côte d'Ivoire

LANGUAGE: French with English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 80 minutes

Restored in 2019 by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project. Funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation.

This restoration is part of the African Film Heritage Project, created by The Film Foundation, FEPACI and UNESCO – in collaboration with Cineteca di Bologna – to help locate, restore, and disseminate African cinema.


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The 4K restoration of La femme au couteau was made from the 35mm original camera and sound negatives. The original camera negative was damaged by mold, dirt, and scratches, and therefore required an extensive amount of digital restoration. Director Timité Bassori supervised the picture grading.


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