‘Bushman’ 4K Restoration Trailer

Samantha Bergeson

1/10/2024 11:00:00 AM

Meta documentary “Bushman” is receiving a 4K restoration and, for the first time, a multi-city theatrical release.

Director David Schickele‘s 1971 film began as a fictional comedy starring his friend Paul Eyam Nzie Okpokam, following the “adventures of a well-educated Nigerian immigrant in San Francisco,” per the official synopsis. However, after Okpokam was wrongfully accused of a real-life crime, “Bushman” shifts to being a documentary about how Okpokam was imprisoned before being deported.

Filmmaker Schickele shot “Bushman” in 1968 after returning from the Peace Corps. Schickele’s is billed as being in the docu-fictional style vein of John Cassavetes’ “Shadows.” Kino Lorber and Milestone Film & Video supported the 4K restoration, which will screen January 15 at MoMA’s To Save and Project festival.

The 75-minute black-and-white film was shelved for decades after its initial release but is regarded by film scholars as a milestone of Black representation in American cinema, especially in capturing the emergence of the West Coast counterculture of the era.

“Bushman” was restored by the University of California, Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive and The Film Foundation, with funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Additional support was provided by Peter Conheim of the Cinema Preservation Alliance.

Kino Lorber has recently unveiled the streaming platform Kino Film Collection, available on Prime Video. The Collection features new Kino releases fresh from theaters, along with hundreds of films from its expansive library of more than 4,000 titles, with many now streaming for the first time.

“We have this fantastic library and it would be very difficult to access everything,” Lisa Schwartz, Chief Revenue Officer for Kino Lorber, told IndieWire. “It’s really just the next evolution of how people can access our films. We wanted to make sure they went into a destination where people could go and enjoy it and get the benefit of the awareness that was created in the theatrical window, in addition to physical media.”

“Bushman” will screen January 15 at MoMA as part of the To Save and Project festival. The new 4K restoration will open in New York City theaters February 2 starting at the Brooklyn Academy of Music, with more cities to follow. Check out the trailer below.



Avant-Garde Masters Grants Set to Preserve Five Films

10/13/2023 8:00:00 AM

Caligari's Cure (1982) by Tom Palazzolo

A semi-autobiographical feature by Tom Palazzolo, two queer cinema classics by Michael Wallin, a subjective investigation of persona by Natalka Voslakov, and an abstract portrait of life by Ricardo Bloch and Sally Dixon will be preserved and made available through the 2023 Avant-Garde Masters Grants, awarded by The Film Foundation and the National Film Preservation Foundation. Funding is provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

Chicago-based artist Tom Palazzolo's absurdist feature film, Caligari's Cure (1982), is both an irreverent retelling of Palazzolo's childhood and a loose adaptation of Robert Weine's 1919 classic The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. The Village Voice film critic J. Hoberman wrote, "The brazen, comic-book mise-en-scène resembles that of Red Grooms or the Kuchars; the tacky, off-kilter sets–houses as ostentatiously ramshackled as Frank Stella’s recent sculpture, wallpaper like Lucas Samaras’s quilt-shard collages, decrepit furniture painted pale pink or dusty green–are a kind of arty-idiot Toonerville Trolley Americana." Chicago Film Archives will preserve the film and make it available alongside previously preserved Palazzolo films.

Natalka Voslakov's Time Capsule with True Bird Flight (1982) will be preserved by Pittsburgh Sound + Image. A poet, writer, filmmaker and all-around creative force in Pittsburgh in the late 70s, Voslakov mined the Pittsburgh art, film, and music scenes for inspiration and collaboration. Often using her life as subject matter, her Super 8 films exemplify the punk essence of the Pittsburgh scene. A freeform interrogation of performance and persona, Time Capsule with True Bird Flight was partially photographed by filmmaker Peggy Ahwesh, one of Voslakov's key aesthetic accomplices.  

The Walker Art Center will preserve Phototropism (1985) made by noted avant-garde film curator Sally Dixon and her husband Ricardo Bloch.Inspired by the work of Jonas Mekas and Stan Brakhage, Dixon began to informally organize film screenings at the Carnegie Museum of Art. After leaving Pittsburgh, Dixon moved to Colorado to join her friend and collaborator Stan Brakhage. There she met Bloch. Phototropism is a portrait of the couple's garden that uses rayograph-style imagery in a more formalized manner than the personal "film poems" Dixon had created in the past. 

Decodings (1988) by Michael Wallin

The Canyon Cinema Foundation will preserve two films by Bay Area Filmmaker Michael Wallin. A pioneer in San Francisco's queer avant-garde cinema scene, Wallin began making films in 1968 while studying under experimental film legend Bruce Baillie. Decodings (1988) is a poetic found-footage essay on remembrance and loss in the AIDS era. Black Sheep Boy (1995) takes the form of a deconstructed erotic fantasy invoking the work of queer film icons Kenneth Anger and Jean Genet. Canyon Cinema Foundation will distribute the new 16mm prints created through this project.

Over the course of 20 years the Avant-Garde Masters Grant program, created by The Film Foundation and the NFPF, has helped 34 organizations save 219 films significant to the development of the avant-garde in America thanks to the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. The grants have preserved works by 87 artists, including Kenneth Anger, Shirley Clarke, Bruce Conner, Joseph Cornell, Oskar Fischinger, Hollis Frampton, Barbara Hammer, Marjorie Keller, George and Mike Kuchar, and Stan VanDerBeek. Click here to learn more about all the films preserved through the Avant-Garde Masters Grants.


Peeping Tom: inside the restoration of Michael Powell’s shocking serial killer drama

Philip Concannon

10/5/2023 1:00:00 PM

We go behind the scenes on the new restoration of a film once reviled, now revered: Michael Powell’s provocative study in voyeurism, Peeping Tom.

If you associate Michael Powell with lush Technicolor dreams or spirited love stories and adventures, then Peeping Tom (1960) will undoubtedly come as a shock. Made three years after he and Emeric Pressburger parted company, Powell’s portrait of a serial killer stars Karlheinz Böhm as the young cameraman who murders women with the sharpened end of his tripod while capturing their agonised final moments on film. The way Powell implicates the viewers’ own voyeurism makes it a uniquely disturbing and provocative experience.

When critics saw Peeping Tom, the response was instant and vitriolic. The film was an aberration, a stain on the reputation of its great director, and the best thing for everyone would be for it to be disposed of and forgotten as quickly as possible. As Michael Powell wrote in his memoirs, the film’s producers gave the critics what they wanted: “They yanked the film from the Plaza, they cancelled the British distribution, and they sold the negative to an obscure black-marketeer of films who tried to forget it, and forgotten it was, along with its director, for twenty years.”

Thankfully, Powell lived to see the critical tide turn on Peeping Tom, and in the years since the director’s death in 1990, its reputation has continued to grow, as has much of Powell and Pressburger’s body of work, thanks in part to the ongoing promotion and restorations undertaken by his friend and admirer Martin Scorsese and Powell’s widow Thelma Schoonmaker. It was Scorsese who spearheaded the rediscovery of Peeping Tom, getting it screened to wide acclaim at the New York Film Festival in 1979 and re-released the following year. He brought Powell over to share in the new reactions to the film, paying for the flight to New York, which Powell couldn’t otherwise have afforded.

Peeping Tom (1960)
© Restoration by The Film Foundation, Studiocanal and BFI National Archive

“To create anything, whether it’s writing or painting or music or dance or cinema, you have to be obsessed,” says Scorsese. “But one can cross the line into danger, easily. Michael Powell didn’t just understand that danger – he lived it. And he actually expressed it in cinematic terms.

“Unlike The Red Shoes, set in the grand world of high culture, Peeping Tom is set at the rock bottom level of low culture, with a protagonist who has already crossed the line. On a plot level, it’s about a serial killer who murders women as he films them. On a deeper level, it’s a portrait of self-destruction by means of cinema – the lenses are scalpels, the splices real cuts that bleed, the celluloid razor wire, and the light of the projector blinding.” 

This year, Peeping Tom will be back in the spotlight with a new 4K restoration by The Film Foundation and the BFI National Archive in association with StudioCanal. Ahead of its premiere at the London Film Festival, I spoke to some of the other key players involved in the restoration to find out what goes into such a project.


“The restoration programme is an ongoing, rolling thing, but we will identify in any given year a core list of prestige titles that we want to restore,” John Rodden of StudioCanal tells me. Rodden is the head of Library and Home Entertainment at the company, which owns the rights to Peeping Tom and, along with The Film Foundation, has funded this restoration. “Sometimes it is partner-driven, sometimes we know that there is an anniversary coming up, which is always a good occasion to revisit a film. In this case, the BFI is doing a Powell and Pressburger season and that’s something where we can work together and find a suitable date to do the restoration and have an occasion to centre the release around. You have to find a hook, and theatrical releases give us that scope because you can have people revisit the film editorially.”

Peeping Tom (1960)
© Restoration by The Film Foundation, Studiocanal and BFI National Archive

Once a title has been greenlit, StudioCanal’s head of technical services, Stephen Hill, retrieves whatever materials they hold in the vaults. For Peeping Tom, they scanned the original Eastmancolor negative at 6K to produce uncompressed DPX files, before being down-sampled to 4K for the restoration work. This scan was done on an ARRI XT by the UK-based company Silver Salt Restoration, but before that could happen the negative itself needed a lot of treatment.

“We had to do some work before we scanned it, fixing some of the joins and perforations to make sure it was smooth and wasn’t going to break on the machine,” Hill explains. “Once we had scanned all of that, we sent it on to our partners at Cineric who were commissioned by The Film Foundation to do their part in New York. When they got the scan, they came back and said some parts of it gave them trouble and had too many scratches, so we then employed something called a wet gate, where liquid goes across the negative and allows us to scan it more smoothly to make their job easier. In the end, if you get that first part of the restoration correct, it makes a world of difference.”


The picture restoration took place at Cineric in New York, which has a longtime relationship with Scorsese and Schoonmaker through their work on previous Film Foundation restorations. The project was supervised by technical director Simon Lund, who spoke to me alongside Cineric’s digital film restoration supervisor Seth Berkowitz. “There was a lot of stabilisation and the usual dust and dirt, but because it wasn’t that faded, I didn’t have to do a tonne of de-flicker like I might on a lot of jobs,” Berkowitz says. “It’s a blend of automated processes and then a manual review and touch-up on a shot-by-shot basis, but then it comes down to a frame-by-frame basis. We do want to remove all the defects, but we don’t want to do anything to the image that would make it less filmic; it should still have an organic feel to it. That can take a couple of months.”

Cineric’s Daniel DeVincent colour grading the Peeping Tom (1960) image

When the image has been restored to everyone’s satisfaction, Cineric’s grader Daniel DeVincent comes into the project to fine-tune the colour, a process in which he works closely with Scorsese and Schoonmaker. “There was a reference print made from the original negative somewhere in the last 15 years, so that’s very helpful to get the look that it would have had coming off the negative. I will also usually have any reference video previously done, and Thelma Schoonmaker did have some involvement with the previous transfer. We did some grading tests that went to Marty Scorsese and Thelma. As Powell is one of Scorsese’s favourite directors he had very strong feelings about how he thinks Peeping Tom should look. So I was able to get more feedback on this title than I normally get on most colour grading projects.”


Working on the sound restoration at Molinare, London

While Cineric worked on the image, the sound was restored by Helen Miles at Molinare in London, working alongside the BFI National Archive’s team. After Mike Kohler from the BFI National Archive brought together all the three optical tracks that the BFI and StudioCanal held, they were scanned and pulled into Pro Tools for Miles to begin her work. “We painstakingly work through and take out any residual distortion, pops and clicks from dust damage, cuts where you get little clunks at the tape joins, that sort of thing. We’re looking at bringing the film to a modern audience and getting rid of anything that doesn’t do service to the film, essentially.” 

Working on the sound also means finding the right balance, and making judgement calls on audio dynamics that may seem jarring to an audience seeing the film for the first time today. “The whole track of Peeping Tom is quite sparse,” says the BFI’s head of conservation Kieron Webb. “Occasionally they’re moving about the set and you hear squeaks on the floor, but then you get this very loud stabbing piano or the police sirens, which are almost unbearably loud. But if you soften the impact of that you’re losing the creative intention of that dynamic jump.” 

Miles also points to Powell’s use of sound in the protagonist’s dark room as an example. “In the dark room there’s this very ominous drip that to a modern audience feels quite heavy-handed, but it helps make it feel different from the rest of the house and where he works and so on. You have this party scene downstairs, it’s busy and lively, and upstairs it’s a troll cave, and the addition of that one sound effect makes it very atmospheric and eerie. It might seem heavy-handed, but it does the trick.”


The new 4K DCP of Peeping Tom will receive its world premiere at the London Film Festival on 7 October and will be released in UK cinemas on 27 October and as a special edition UHD, Blu-ray and DVD release on 29 January. It will also play as part of the BFI’s Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds of Powell and Pressburger season at BFI Southbank and UK-wide programme (16 October to 31 December) and at the Lumière Film Festival in Lyon (14 to 22 October). Beyond that, Rodden says: “Eventually we will have it on our StudioCanal Presents channel as well, but we encourage people to see it in the cinema in the first instance. It’s such an important film in the context of Michael Powell’s personal journey through cinema, and over time a continuing fascination has grown with the film.”

“There’s no other picture quite like Peeping Tom in the history of the cinema,” says Scorsese. “It is ravishingly beautiful, like all of Michael’s greatest films, and I’m thrilled that we’ve finally been able to give it the restoration that it deserved. It is also a shock to the system, a deeply unsettling, and, I find, absolutely lucid picture about the danger of making art.”

Cinema Unbound: The Creative Worlds of Powell and Pressburger runs from 16 October to 31 December.


61st New York Film Festival Revivals Announced

Press Release

8/21/2023 8:00:00 AM

Film at Lincoln Center announces Revivals for the 61st New York Film Festival (September 29–October 15). The Revivals section showcases significant works from renowned filmmakers that have been digitally remastered, restored, and preserved with the assistance of generous partners.

See everything in the Revivals section with a $125 Revivals Pass, limited quantities on sale now. Revivals selections are also included in Festival Passes.

“This year’s edition of Revivals is a thrilling showcase of cinema history, packed with groundbreaking discoveries and long unseen classics alike, all in outstanding restorations,” said Florence Almozini, Senior Director of Programming at Film at Lincoln Center and NYFF Revivals Programmer. “We never cease to be amazed at the lasting influence of these cinematic gems on our collective sense of cinema, with the way they have tackled cultural, societal, or political issues with such modernity and artistry. The section is a constant inspiration to all cinephiles!”

The Revivals section connects cinema’s historical significance and present-day cultural influence through a selection of world premieres of restorations, rarities, and more. Highlights from this year’s slate include restorations of Nancy Savoca’s Household Saints, a comic chronicle of a spirited Italian-American New York family featuring Vincent D’Onofrio, Tracey Ullman, Lili Taylor, Michael Imperioli, and others, preceded by Savoca’s first student film, Renata; Horace Ové’s Pressure, one of the most important British films of the 1970s and an enduringly potent document on the social conditions known by first-generation West Indian immigrants; a selection of Man Ray’s short films, featuring Return to Reason restored on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, along with three other newly restored early films by Ray set to haunting and hypnotic new music by SQÜRL (Jim Jarmusch, who is also the NYFF61 poster artist, and Carter Logan); The Woman on the Beach, Jean Renoir’s beguiling, almost ghostly last film in Hollywood, showing on a brand-new 35mm print; and Tewfik Saleh’s The Dupes, an excruciatingly suspenseful and eminently modern work of political cinema.

Additional highlights include Manoel de Oliveira’s Abraham’s Valley; Bahram Beyzaie’s The Stranger and the Fog; Abel Gance’s La Roue; Paul Vecchiali’s The Strangler; Lee Grant’s Tell Me a Riddle, preceded by her debut short The Stronger; and Niki de Saint Phalle’s Un rêve plus long que la nuit

Explore NYFF61’s Main Slate and Spotlight lineups. Currents and Talks sections will be announced soon––sign up for NYFF updates for the latest news.

The New York Film Festival will offer festival screenings in all five boroughs of New York City in partnership with Alamo Drafthouse Cinema (Staten Island), BAM (Brooklyn Academy of Music) (Brooklyn), the Bronx Museum of the Arts (Bronx), Maysles Documentary Center in Harlem (Manhattan), and the Museum of the Moving Image (Queens). Each venue will present a selection of films throughout the festival; a complete list of films and showtimes will be announced later this month.

NYFF61 single tickets will go on sale to the general public on Tuesday, September 19 at noon ET, with pre-sale access for FLC Members and Pass holders prior to this date. NYFF61 press and industry accreditation is now open through August 28.


Abraham’s Valley
Manoel de Oliveira, 1993, Portugal, 203m
Portuguese with English subtitles
North American Premiere of Restoration

Among the most essential films in Manoel de Oliveira’s vast, epoch-spanning oeuvre is this adaptation of Agustina Bessa-Luis’s 1991 transposition of Flaubert’s Madame Bovary to 20th-century Portugal. Leonor Silveira stars as Ema, who, ensnared within a loveless marriage as a young woman, takes on a succession of lovers to satiate the desires that animate her inner life—namely, her desire to be desired. Ema’s passions yield increasingly stifling consequences through her life, and as we behold her struggle to square conflicting realities, Oliveira draws us ever deeper into her labyrinthine complexity through typically captivating images that seem to hover on the precipice between the sensual and the metaphysical. An NYFF31 Main Slate selection. Digitized and restored by Cinemateca Portuguesa – Museu do Cinema. Grading by Cinemateca and image restored by Irma Lucia Efeitos Especiais in 2016. Grading revised in 2023. Sound restored by Billy Boom in 2023.

The Dupes
Tewfik Saleh, 1972, Syria, 107m
Arabic with English subtitles
North American Premiere of Restoration

Set in the 1950s and adapted from assassinated artist, writer, and Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ghassan Kanafani’s 1962 novella Men in the Sun, Tewfik Saleh’s 1972 masterpiece follows three Palestinian refugees—each man representing a different generation—as they seek safe passage from Iraq to Kuwait, where they hope to secure work and money to send to their families back home. Short on options to achieve this goal, they agree to a questionable plan to get smuggled in, and the possibility of building better lives for themselves grows ever more improbable. An excruciatingly suspenseful and eminently modern work of political cinema that evokes The Wages of Fear and Kafka in equal measure, The Dupes is one of Arab cinema’s most astonishing achievements. A Janus Films release. Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna in collaboration with the National Film Organization and the family of Tewfik Saleh. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

Household Saints
Nancy Savoca, 1993, U.S., 125m
World Premiere of Restoration

Based on Francine Prose’s fifth novel, Nancy Savoca’s comic chronicle of a spirited Italian-American New York family perfectly balances humor, tragedy, and pathos. Vincent D’Onofrio’s Joseph Santangelo is a butcher with a wicked sense of humor who “wins” his wife Catherine (an uncharacteristically reserved Tracey Ullman) in a pinochle game. Together they experience the ups, downs, and wacky in-betweens of city life until teenage daughter Teresa slowly overtakes the film with her yearning to join a convent. Perfectly embodying a modern-day Bernadette, Lili Taylor imbues Teresa with a mix of dedicated innocence and naïveté. Executive produced by Jonathan Demme, with notable appearances from Michael Imperioli, Illeana Douglas, and Judith Malina among others, Household Saints announced a unique voice in 1990s New York City independent filmmaking. A Milestone Films release. Household Saints has been digitally restored and remastered by Lightbox Film Center at University of the Arts (Philadelphia) in collaboration with Milestone Films with support from Ron and Suzanne Naples. Restoration Supervisor: Ross Lipman, Corpus Fluxus. Picture Restoration: Illuminate Hollywood. Sound Restoration: Audio Mechanics.

Preceded by:
Nancy Savoca, 1982, U.S., 16m
U.S. Premiere of Restoration
Nancy Savoca’s first student film, made alongside husband Rich Guay at NYU in the early ’80s, deftly explores the struggles of a young mother living in New York City. Their classmate Marianne Leone gives life to their character of Renata and her plight—weighing her own well-being against her commitment to her family. Crisp black-and-white photography adds to Leone’s dynamic performance, stripping away everything but her struggle. A Milestone Films release. Renata has been digitally remastered from the original 16mm negative by Milestone Film & Video in collaboration with Ross Lipman, Corpus Fluxus. Thank you to Nancy Savoca and Rich Guay, the UCLA Film & Television Archive, Todd Wiener, and Paul Foster. 2K Scan: CineSolutions.

Horace Ové, 1975, U.K., 125m
Joint World Premiere of New Restoration

One of the most important British films of the 1970s and an enduringly potent document on the social conditions known by first-generation West Indian immigrants, Horace Ové’s fiction feature debut chronicles the experience of Tony, a young man caught between his parents’ submissiveness and his brother’s militancy. As Tony’s professional prospects grow ever dimmer, he finds community with other young Black Brits whose sense of social alienation has driven them into the streets in search of purpose and enrichment. Mesmerizingly performed by a cast of professional and non-professional actors, Pressure remains a richly forceful work of political cinema that examines the formation of identity by Black immigrants within a miserably racist society. A Janus Films release. Restored by the BFI National Archive and The Film Foundation. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Pressure will have a joint restoration World Premiere at the BFI London Film Festival in partnership with American Express at BFI Southbank and as a Revivals selection at the 61st New York Film Festival on October 11.

Return to Reason: Short Films by Man Ray
Man Ray, 1923–1928, France, 76m
North American Premiere of Restoration

Restored on the occasion of its 100th anniversary, Man Ray’s first foray into filmmaking, the wildly improvisational and unapologetically fragmentary Return to Reason, finds the artist exploding and reconstructing the cinematic medium as a vehicle for accessing the abstract essence of things by way of the rhythmic accumulation of visual details glimpsed in part, never in their wholeness. What emerges from this program—which combines Return to Reason with several other kindred and newly restored early films by Ray, set to haunting and hypnotic new music by SQÜRL (Jim Jarmusch and Carter Logan)—is the sense of Ray as perhaps the modern artist par excellence, an intrepid experimentalist absolutely committed to delving ever deeper into the space between consciousness and unconsciousness, sense and nonsense, wakefulness and dreaming. A Janus Films release. The restoration process was led by L’Immagine Ritrovata, sourcing original prints from various parts of the world, in partnership with the Cineteca di Bologna, La Cinémathèque française, the Centre Pompidou, the Library of Congress, and the French CNC.

Return to Reason
Man Ray, 1923, France, 3m

Man Ray, 1926, France, 19m

L’Étoile de mer
Man Ray, 1928, France, 27m

Les Mystères du château de Dé
Man Ray, 1927, France, 27m

Preceded by: 
Pier Paolo Pasolini – Agnès Varda – New York – 1967
Agnès Varda, 2022, France, 3m
North American Premiere
French with English subtitles
In 1966, two legendary filmmakers, in town for the 4th New York Film Festival, took a walk through Times Square. Armed with 16mm color film, Agnès Varda captured Pier Paolo Pasolini. A year later, she edited the footage and recorded his brief commentary track, discussing the uses of documentary filmmaking, Christianity, and the nature of reality. The elements were only discovered in 2021 and restored by Cine-Tamaris, in collaboration with L’Immagine Ritrovata, to their lustrous expressivity. Pier Paolo Pasolini – Agnès Varda – New York – 1967 is an NYFF61 Main Slate selection. For more information about the Main Slate, visit here.

La Roue
Abel Gance, 1923, France, 424m

One of silent cinema’s undeniable high-water marks, Abel Gance’s monumental work of psychological realism, La Roue, is a narratively and emotionally expansive epic whose technical innovations changed the course of film history. The film recounts the doomed love of a railroad engineer, Sisif (Séverin-Mars), for the orphan he takes in and raises as his own daughter, Norma (Ivy Close); upon realizing that his affection for Norma is as romantic as it is paternal, he inadvertently sets in motion a tragic chain of events. Shot almost entirely on location and marked by a dazzling array of techniques that would influence countless filmmakers in the decades to come—superimpositions, extreme close-ups, and rhythmic montage, to name a few—La Roue is at once a towering classic of early narrative cinema and a genuine formal experiment whose gambits shaped our understanding of film style. A Janus Films Release. New 4K Restoration. The Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé restored the film in collaboration with the Cinémathèque Française, the Cinémathèque Suisse, and Pathé and with the support of the Centre National du Cinéma et de l’image animée. The reconstitution of the music was supervised in Germany under the responsibility of ZDF/ARTE and the composer Bernd Thewes. It relied on the musical list of the conductor Paul Fosse played during the first screening and which had been kept at the Cinémathèque Française. The reconstitution and interpretation of the music is the result of a collaboration between the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé, ZDF/ARTE, the radio station Deutschlandfunk Kultur, and the Berlin Radio Symphony Orchestra.

The Stranger and the Fog
Bahram Beyzaie, 1974, Iran, 140m
Farsi with English subtitles
North American Premiere of Restoration

One of the most mysterious and magisterial films of the Iranian New Wave, Bahram Beyzaie’s visionary 1974 drama was banned for decades following the Iranian Revolution. A relentlessly oneiric parable, The Stranger and the Fog begins with the titular stranger, named Ayat, arriving at a coastal village on the Persian Gulf aboard a drifting boat, unconscious and with no memory of how he arrived there. The villagers revive him and, some time later, he falls in love with a local widow, causing tensions with her deceased husband’s family. After years of peace, still more strangers descend upon the village from the sea in search of Ayat. This visually ravishing masterwork invents its own mythology to critique the sociopolitical conditions of 1970s Iran. A Janus Films release. Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna in collaboration with Bahram Beyzaie. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

The Strangler
Paul Vecchiali, 1970, France, 95m
French with English subtitles

The psychological thriller receives one of its most distinctive treatments in Paul Vecchiali’s third feature, a stylish and sophisticated investigation into the nature of compulsion. Several unhappy-looking women are murdered by a psychotic young man (Jacques Perrin), who believes these killings to be acts of mercy rather than malice. The detective assigned to the case (Julien Guiomar) becomes utterly fixated on catching his man, and will go to dubiously ethical lengths to bring the killer to justice. A complex, melancholic meditation on isolation as well as a portrait of collective hysteria, The Strangler endures as a key work within Vecchiali’s deeply underrated oeuvre. An Altered Innocence release. Restored with the help of Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée (CNC). Laboratory: Cosmodigital.

Tell Me a Riddle
Lee Grant, 1980, U.S., 93m

In her theatrical directorial debut, Lee Grant and screenwriters Joyce Eliason and Alev Lytle adapt Tillie Olsen’s O. Henry Award-winning novella as a moving meditation on aging and coming to terms with the past. Melvyn Douglas and Lila Kedrova star as elderly Midwestern Jewish couple David and Eva; when David learns that Eva has terminal cancer, the two set out on a pilgrimage to visit their children and grandchildren, occasioning a reflection on the unexamined corners of their souls they’ve too long neglected in order to raise their family. Also featuring performances by Brooke Adams, Peter Coyote, and Zalman King, Grant’s touching and richly traced directorial debut is notable for having been directed, written, and produced exclusively by women. Restored in 2022 by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation. Restoration funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Special thanks to Mindy Affrime, Rachel Lyon, and Susan O’Connell.

Preceded by: 
The Stronger 
Lee Grant, 1976, U.S., 30m
The result of Grant’s participation in the American Film Institute’s first directing workshop for women, her debut short adapts August Strindberg’s play of the same title, in which Susan Strasberg and Dolores Dorn play a wife and her husband’s mistress, respectively. Restored in 2022 by the Academy Film Archive and The Film Foundation. 

The NYFF61 Revivals presentations of Tell Me a Riddle and The Stronger are sponsored by Turner Classic Movies.

Un rêve plus long que la nuit
Niki de Saint Phalle, 1976, France, 82m
French and Swiss German with English subtitles
North American Premiere of Restoration

In her second feature (and her first solo feature), the multidisciplinary artist Niki de Saint Phalle pursues her own take on the fairy tale, and the result is a visionary exploration of female desire that unfurls according to the logic of dreams and poetry. The film follows a princess (played by Saint Phalle’s daughter, Laura Duke Condominas) who, following a series of encounters with fantastical beings, is magically transformed into an adult, and finds herself navigating a frightening and surreal new world. A work suffused with ideas and strong ties to Saint Phalle’s work in other media (sculpture, painting, assemblage, etc.), Un rêve plus long que la nuit is both an exemplary artist’s film and an underseen gem of 1970s French avant-garde cinema. The 4K restoration of Un rêve plus long que la nuit was completed using the original 16mm camera and sound negatives. The restored version corresponds to the edit in 1976 when the film was first released. The restoration was supervised by Arielle de Saint Phalle and realized at L’Immagine Ritrovata (Bologna-Paris) in 2023. Restoration funding provided by Dior.

The Woman on the Beach
Jean Renoir, 1947, U.S., 35mm, 71m
North American Premiere of Restoration

Jean Renoir’s beguiling final Hollywood film was conceived as something that would defy conventional narrative storytelling while also exploring the nature of sexual attraction. Robert Ryan’s PTSD-riddled Scott meets Joan Bennett’s steely-eyed Peggy on a deserted beach one day and they’re immediately drawn to each other, despite their respective romantic relationships, particularly Peggy’s with her blind painter husband (an outstandingly gruff Charles Bickford). The mood slowly darkens as Scott and Peggy’s mutual lust overwhelms each nightmarish interaction. The final film, re-edited and re-shot after an ill-fated test screening, may not be as Renoir initially intended, but a special strangeness—an almost ghost-like quality—remains, as does the defiant energy that he brought to this fascinating curio. Restored by the Library of Congress and The Film Foundation. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.

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