The World Cinema Project (WCP) preserves and restores neglected films from around the world. To date, 43 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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KAZAKHSTAN | 1989

REVENGE

MEST

Director: Ermek Shinarbaev

WRITTEN BY: Anatoli Kim

EDITING: Polina Stein

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Sergei Kosmanev

PRODUCER: Habibur Rahman Khan

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Vladislav Shute

STARRING: Alexandre Pan (Sungu, the poet), Oleg Li (King-Monk), Valentin Te (Novice), Lubove Germanova (Elza), Rasim Jakibaev (Tsai)

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Kazakhstan

LANGUAGE: Russian with French and English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Color

RUNNING TIME: 96 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Kazakhfilm Studios

SET DESIGNER: Elena Eliseeva

PRODUCER: Habibur Rahman Khan

Restored in 2010 by Cineteca di Bologna/L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, the Kazakhfilm Studio, the State Archive of the Republic of Kazakhstan and Ermek Shinarbaev. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways and Qatar Museum Authority. 

In a rage, a teacher murders a boy. Another boy is bred, for one sole purpose: to avenge his brother’s death. Kazakh master Ermek Shinarbaev’s close collaboration with the Korean-Russian writer Anatoli Kim yielded three great films, the most remarkable of which is this beautiful, profoundly unsettling film. A true odyssey, geographically and psychologically. One of the greatest films to emerge from the Kazakh New Wave, and one of the toughest.
(Kent Jones, May 2010)

 

In the beginning of the 40s, hundreds of thousands of Koreans that had lived in the Russian Far East since the XIX century were forcibly displaced overnight according to Stalin’s orders. They were regarded as traitors and public enemies. Women, children, old people, were sent away with no explanation. The Korean diaspora, with a population of over a million, has been a forbidden topic for many years. Revenge is the first film telling the story of their tragedy.
(Ermek Shinarbaev, May 2010)


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Revenge, used the original camera negative, the sound negative and a positive print provided by the Kazakhfilm Studio and held at the State Archive of the Republic of Kazakhstan. Special thanks to director Ermek Shinarbaev for actively participating in the restoration.

Image: © Courtesy of Kazakhfilm Studio


MEXICO | 1934

FANTASMA DEL CONVENTO, EL

Director: Fernando de Fuentes

WRITTEN BY: Jorge Bezet, Fernando de Fuentes, Juan Bustillo Oro

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Ross Fisher

PRODUCER: Jorge Bezet

STARRING: Enrique del Campo, Marte Roel, Carlos Villatoro, Paco Martínez, Victorio Blanco

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Mexico

LANGUAGE: Spanish with English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 85 minutes

PRODUCER: Jorge Bezet

Restored by UCLA Film & Television Archive and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, with funding provided by the George Lucas Family Foundation. 


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

Preserved from the 35mm nitrate picture and track negatives and a 16mm acetate composite dupe negative. Laboratory services by Fotokem, Roundabout Entertainment, Inc., Audio Mechanics, DJ Audio, Inc., Titrafilm Paris. Special thanks to Viviana Garcia Besne, Permanencia Voluntaria; Albino Álvarez Gómez, Filmoteca de la UNAM.


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


BRAZIL | 1980

PIXOTE

PIXOTE, A LEI DO MAIS FRACO

Director: Héctor Babenco

WRITTEN BY: Héctor Babenco, Jorge Durán

EDITING: Luiz Elias

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Rodolfo Sanchez

PRODUCER: Sylvia B. Naves, Paulo Francini, José Pinto

ART DIRECTOR: Clóvis Bueno

STARRING: Fernando Ramos da Silva (Pixote), Jorge Julião (Lilica), Gilberto Moura (Dito), Edilson Lino (Chico), Zenildo Oliveira Santos (Fumaça), Claudio Bernardo (Garatao), Israel Feres David (Roberto Pie de Plata), Jose Nilson Martin Dos Santos (Diego), Marília Pêra (Sueli)

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Brazil

LANGUAGE: Portuguese with English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Color

RUNNING TIME: 128 Minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Embrafilme, HB Filmes

PRODUCER: Sylvia B. Naves, Paulo Francini, José Pinto

Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata in association with HB Filmes, Cinemateca Brasileira, and JLS Facilitações Sonoras. Restoration funded by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. 


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

Restored in 4K from the 35mm original camera negative and a first generation 35mm dupe negative preserved at the Cinemateca Brasileira. In order to minimize the overall presence of mold, particularly invasive in reels 3, 5 and 6, the camera negative was wet-gate scanned at 4K resolution and digital restoration required considerable efforts. Missing frames in three different shots of reel 3 were replaced using the internegative.

The recently rediscovered original magnetic soundtrack, also affected by mold, with the oxide peeling off the base, was carefully repaired by Beto Ferraz then digitized and restored by José Luiz Sasso (ABC), sound engineer for Hector Babenco in 1981. Final color grading was supervised by cinematographer Rodolfo Sánchez using a first generation vintage 35mm print as reference.


TAIWAN | 1983

BOYS FROM FENGKUEI, THE

FENG GUI LAI DE REN

Director: Hou Hsiao-hsien

WRITTEN BY: T'ien-wen Chu

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Kun Hao Chen

SOUND: Duu-Chih Tu

STARRING: Chun-fang Chang, Shih Chang, Doze Niu, Chao P'eng-chue, Chung-Hua Tou, Li-Yin Yang

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Taiwan

LANGUAGE: Mandarin with English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Color

RUNNING TIME: 101 minutes

Restored by the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique in collaboration with Hou Hsiao-hsien and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project.


CUBA | 1968

LUCIA

Director: Humberto Solás

WRITTEN BY: Humberto Solás, Julio Garcia Espinosa, Nelson Rodríguez

EDITING: Nelson Rodríguez

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Jorge Herrera

PRODUCER: Raúl Canosa, Camilo Vives

PRODUCTION DESIGN: Pedro Garcia Espinosa, Roberto Miqueli

STARRING: 1895: Raquel Revuelta (Lucía); Eduardo Moure (Rafael); Idalia Anreus (Fernandina); 1932: Eslinda Nuñez (Lucía); Ramón Brito (Aldo); Flora Lautén (Flora); 196..: Adela Legrá (Lucía); Adolfo Llauradó (Tomás); Teté Vergara (Angelina)

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Cuba

LANGUAGE: Spanish

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 160 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC)

PRODUCER: Raúl Canosa, Camilo Vives

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in association with Instituto Cubano del Arte e Industria Cinematográficos (ICAIC). Restoration funded by Turner Classic Movies and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project.


One of the abilities of cinema is to portray what a country is going through… it is about putting the country’s face on the screen, but it’s also about enlarging one’s vision of that specific place.
-- Walter Salles

ICAIC was born out of the victory of the Revolution. Those of us who were about to attempt to found a national film industry from scratch faced a set of problems that we had to resolve immediately. Our problem was a basic cultural dichotomy, as in Lenin’s thesis on national cultures. We had an elitist cultural tradition that represented the interests of the dominant class, and a more clandestine culture that had already received wide exposure; however, at some point, all artistic expression started to be converted into products of a consumer-oriented culture.

Because the elitist and the popular were so intimately tied, because petit bourgeois consciousness and influences from Europe and North America were so dominant, our general cultural panorama at the time of the Revolution was in fact a pretty desolate one. This was during the sixties, when the most important film movement was the French New Wave. Films like Alain Resnais’ Hiroshima mon amour (1959) or Michelangelo Antonioni’s L’Avventura (1960) marked most of the subsequent decade. These influences alienated us from our indigenous cultural forms and from a more serious search for a kind of cultural expression consistent with national life and with the explosive dynamism of the Revolution. Yet this was a path we clearly had to travel. Anyone who picks up the tools of artistic activity for the first time is going to be vulnerable to outside influences.

With Lucía, I wanted to view our history in phases, to show how apparent frustrations and setbacks –such as the decade of the ’30s–led us to a higher stage of national life. Whenever you make a historical film, whether it’s set two decades or two centuries ago, you are referring to the present.

Lucía is not a film about women, it’s a film about society. But within society, I chose the most vulnerable character, the one who is more transcendentally affected at any given moment by contradictions and change.
-- Humberto Solás


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Lucía was made possible through the use of the original camera and sound negative and a third generation dupe negative provided by and preserved at the ICAIC.

The state of conservation of the negative was critical, due to advanced vinegar syndrome causing portions of the film stock to colliquate (melt) or stick together; the negative also appeared heavily warped and buckled, causing the image to lose focus throughout the film. Despite undergoing several weeks of drying and softening treatments, large portions of 8 (out of 18) reels could not be used. These sections were replaced with a second generation duplicate preserved by the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv since
the film had been distributed in East Germany in the late 1960s.

All the elements were wet-scanned at a 4K resolution to eliminate or reduce heavy scratches and halos. Additional documentation was used to confirm that the film had been shot on two different film stocks–Orwo and Ilford–and graded according to the time-period depicted in the film. A previously unscreened vintage print preserved at the BFI National Archive was used as a reference.

The original soundtrack was in fairly good condition, with the exception of uneven and inconsistent background noise detected in
the mix which required careful dynamic noise reduction.


CAMEROON | 1975

MUNA MOTO

Director: Jean-Pierre Dikongué-Pipa

WRITTEN BY: Jean-Pierre Dikongué-Pipa

EDITING: Andrée Davanture, Dominique Saint-Cyr, Jules Takam

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Jean-Pierre Dezalay, Jean-Luc Léon

STARRING: David Endéné, Arlette Din Bell, Philippe Abia, Gisèle Dikongué-Pipa, Jeanne Mvondo

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Cameroon

LANGUAGE: French with English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 90 minutes

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

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 African cinema.


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The 4K restoration of Muna Moto was made from the 35mm original camera and sound negatives and a second generation dupe negative.

Despite wet-gate scanning to minimize mold damage, some sections of the camera negative had to be replaced by scanning the dupe negative.

Following director Jean-Pierre Dikongue-Pipa’s suggestion, the dupe negative was also used for the opening and closing cards which differed from the original negative. A vintage 35mm print was used as a reference for picture grading. Special thanks to Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique.


CHINA | 1997

PICKPOCKET

XIAO WU

Director: Jia Zhang-ke

WRITTEN BY: Jia Zhang-ke

EDITING: Lin Xiao Ling

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Yu Lik Wai

PRODUCER: Li Kit Ming, Jia Zhang-ke

ASSISTANT DIRECTOR: Gu Zheng

ART DIRECTOR: Liang Jing Dong

STARRING: Wang Hong wei, Hao Hong Jian, Zuo Bai Tao

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: China

LANGUAGE: Mandarin

COLOR INFO: Color

RUNNING TIME: 108 minutes

PRODUCER: Li Kit Ming, Jia Zhang-ke

Restored by The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project and Cineteca di Bologna at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in collaboration with Jia Zhang-ke and in association with MK2.

Restoration funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The 4K restoration of XIAO WU was made from the original 16mm camera and sound negatives. The restoration process and color grading was supervised by director Jia Zhang-ke.


SOUTH KOREA | 1960

HOUSEMAID, THE

HANYO

Director: Kim Ki-Young

WRITTEN BY: Kim Ki-Young

EDITING: Kim Ki-Young

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Kim Deok-jin

PRODUCER: Kim Young-chul

MUSICAL DIRECTOR: Han Sang-Ki

ART DIRECTOR: Park Seok-in

STARRING: Lee Eunshim (Housemaid), Kim Jin-kyu (Dong-sik), Ju Jeung-nyeo (Dong-sik’s wife), Um Aeng-ran (Cho Kyung-hee)

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: South Korea

LANGUAGE: Korean with English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 110 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: Korean Munye Films Co., Ltd.

PRODUCER: Kim Young-chul

Restored in 2008 by the Korean Film Archive (KOFA), in association with The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project and HFR-Digital Film laboratory. Additional restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways and Qatar Museum Authority. 

Kim Ki-young’s Hanyo, or The Housemaid, is one of the true classics of South Korean cinema, and when I finally had the opportunity to see the picture, I was startled. That this intensely, even passionately claustrophobic film is known only to the most devoted film lovers in the west is one of the great accidents of film history. I’m proud that the World Cinema Foundation is participating in the restoration and preservation of this remarkable picture. I am eager for more people to get to know and love The Housemaid.
–Martin Scorsese, February 2008


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

Hanyo has been restored digitally by the Korean Film Archive (KOFA) with the support of the World Cinema Foundation. The original negative of the film was found in 1982 with two missing reels, 5 and 8. In 1990 an original release print with hand-written English subtitles was found and used to complete the copy. This surviving print was highly damaged, and the English subtitles occupied almost half of the frame area. The long and complex restoration process has involved the use of a special subtitle-removal software and included flicker and grain reduction, scratch and dust removal, color grading.

Image: © Courtesy of Korean Film Archive


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


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


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