The World Cinema Project (WCP) preserves and restores neglected films from around the world. To date, 31 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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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


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.


TAIWAN | 1985

TAIPEI STORY

QING MEI ZHU MA

Director: Edward Yang

WRITTEN BY: Edward Yang, Hou Hsiao-hsien, Chu T’ien-wen

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Yang Wei-han

PRODUCER: Hou Hsiao- hsien, Lin Rong-feng

STARRING: Hou Hsiao-hsien (Lung), Tsai Chin (Chin), Lai Teh-nan (Chin's father), Chen Su-fang (Mrs. Mei), Wu Nien-Jen (Taxi driver), Ko I-Chen (Architect), Ko Su-wun (Gwan)

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Taiwan

LANGUAGE: Madarin with English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Color

RUNNING TIME: 119 minutes

PRODUCER: Hou Hsiao- hsien, Lin Rong-feng

Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project at Cineteca di Bologna/L’immagine Ritrovata laboratory in association with the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique and Hou Hsiao-hsien.


SENEGAL | 1973

TOUKI BOUKI

Director: Djibril Diop Mambéty

WRITTEN BY: Djibril Diop Mambéty

EDITING: Siro Asteni

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Pap Samba Sow, Georges Bracher

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Joséphine Baker, Mado Robin, Aminata Fall

SOUND: El Hadji Mbow

FROM: GTC Paris

STARRING: Magaye Niang (Mory), Mareme Niang (Anta), Aminata Fall (Tante Oumy), Ousseynou Diop (Charlie)

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Senegal

LANGUAGE: Wolof with French and English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Color

RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Cinegrit

Restored in 2008 by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the family of Djibril Diop Mambéty. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways and Qatar Museum Authority.

Touki Bouki is a prophetic film. Its portrayal of 1973 Senegalese society is not too different from today’s reality. Hundreds of young Africans die every day at the Strait of Gibraltar trying to reach Europe (Melilla and Ceuta). Who has never heard of that before? All their hardships find their voice in Djibril’s film: the young nomads who think they can cross the desert ocean and find their own lucky star and happiness but are disappointed by the human cruelty they encounter. Touki Bouki is a beautiful, upsetting and unexpected film that makes us question ourselves. What a pleasure and what an achievement for Martin Scorsese’s Foundation to give Djibril Diop Mambéty a second life. To all those who support cinema: bravo! –Souleymane Cissé, May 2008


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

Touki Bouki has been digitally restored at 2K resolution using the original 35 mm camera and sound negatives provided by the director’s son Teemour Diop Mambéty and preserved at the GTC in Paris. Digital restoration brought the film’s original chromatic elements to light. At the end of the digital process a new 35 mm internegative was produced.

Image: © Courtesy of Teemour Diop Mambéty


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


SRI LANKA | 1973

TREASURE, THE

NIDHANAYA

Director: Lester James Peries

WRITTEN BY: Tissa Abeysekera

EDITING: Lester James Peries, Edwin Leetin, Gladwyn Fernando

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: M.S. Anandan

ADAPTED BY: G. B. Senanayake

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Premasiri Khemadasa

ART DIRECTOR: J.A. Vincent Perera

STARRING: Gamini Fonseka, Malani Fonseka, Saman Bokalawala, Francis Perera, Mapa Gunaratne, Shanthi Lekha, Trilicia Gunawardene, Thilakasiri Fernando, J.B.L. Fernando, Thalatha Gunasekera, Kumarasinghe Appuhamy, K.L. Coranelis Appuhamy, Barry Whittington, Wijeratne Warakagoda

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Sri Lanka

LANGUAGE: Sinhala

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: P.E.E. Anthonypillai for Ceylon Studios

Restored in 2013 by Cineteca di Bologna/L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, Lester James and Sumitra Peries, the National Film Archive of India, the National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka, Cinemas Ltd. Additional restoration elements provided by Degeto Films. Restoration funded by Doha Film Institute.

Nidhanaya is based on a dark tale by G.B. Senanayake and is considered a milestone film that people, even abroad, admire the most, albeit it is atypical of Lester James Peries’ customary family dramas. The story revolves around a psychotic killer yet is an underlying serious political study on the degradation of a class of society. In 1972 this film won the Silver Lion of St Mark at the 33th Venice International Film Festival and was selected as one of the outstanding films of the year, receiving a Diploma at the London Film Festival. It was also voted as the best film of the first 50 years of Sri Lankan cinema.

My most controversial film is Nidhanaya, which received a very positive reception at the Venice Film Festival. The most accurate critics highlighted that, despite its setting in 1911, this film holds a strong social and political value in denouncing the system. The character is trapped between two cultures: the Western/British one and his culture of origin—he is lost between two worlds. Unable to adapt to either one or the other, he absorbs the worse elements of the two cultures; the society changes and he goes insane.

- Lester James Peries


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Nidhanaya was made possible through the use of two key elements: a 35mm positive print struck from the original camera negative and held by Degeto Film, and a combined dupe negative preserved at the National Film Archive of India.

The prints were scanned at 4K resolution. After scanning, the image was stabilized and cleaned, and all wear marks were eliminated. Image grading recovered the richness of the original cinematography.  The soundtrack was also digitally cleaned and background noise reduction was applied to reduce imperfections without losing the dynamic features of the original.  The digital restoration produced a new 35mm internegative.

The World Cinema Foundation would like to thank the following individuals and organizations for their support: G R Padmaraj and Cinemas Ltd, National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka, National Film Archive of India, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Ravindra and Sam Randeniya, and Hubert Niogret.

Special thanks to Lester James Peries and Sumitra Peries for facilitating the restoration process.

Image: © Courtesy of National Film Corporation of Sri Lanka


HUNGARY | 1939

TWO GIRLS ON THE STREET

KÉT LÁNY AZ UTCÁN

Director: André De Toth

WRITTEN BY: Tamás Emod, Rezsö Török

EDITING: Zoltán Kerényi

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Károly Vass

ADAPTED BY: André De Toth

PRODUCER: Béla Lévay

FROM: Hungarian National Film Archive

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Gizella Langermann

STARRING: Bella Bordy (Torma Vica), Mária Tasnádi Fekete (Kártély Gyöngyi), Piroska Vaszary Pletyus (as Vaszary Piri), Gyula Csortos (Filc bácsi), Andor Ajtay, Csiszár István, Károly Kovács, Lali

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Hungary

LANGUAGE: Hungarian with French and English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Hunnia Filmgyár

PRODUCER: Béla Lévay

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

André De Toth was a great filmmaker, we are indebted to him for a number of extraordinary films (dating back to his first Hungarian works) and many masterpieces. He fought to make ambitious films and refused to work under a studio contract, thus showing a rare desire for freedom […] One day, following a screening of Round Midnight, De Toth told me, “You made me cry. And it’s hard to cry when you only have one eye.” He comforted and supported me. He was never bitter, he would never have said something like: “Cinema was better when I was making films”. He remained curious, open-minded; he battled for the American Cinematheque on Hollywood Boulevard […] “We’re like passengers driving at full speed on the new highways of communication”, he wrote. “It’s the same road since 1895, only it’s slippier because of the sweat and the blood and with more cracks: each of them a broken dream. These past hundred years have been terrible, yet we’ve enjoyed every single minute of them. As long as this fever, this love for making films survives, nothing will ever change.” On his sets, one big sign read, “Drama should occur in front of the camera, not behind it”, another, “Technology will never replace brains and intelligence”.
(Bertrand Tavernier)


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Két Lány Az Utcán used the original 35mm camera and sound nitrate negatives preserved at the Magyar Nemzeti Filmarchívum (Hungarian National Film Archive). The digital restoration produced a new 35mm internegative.

Image: © Courtesy of Magyar Nemzeti Filmarchívum (Hungarian National Film Archive)


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