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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


CUBA | 1968

MEMORIES OF UNDERDEVELOPMENT

MEMORIAS DEL SUBDESARROLLO

Director: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea

WRITTEN BY: Tomás Gutiérrez Alea

EDITING: Nelson Rodríguez

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Ramón F. Suárez

PRODUCER: Miguel Mendoza

STARRING: Sergio Corrieri (Sergio Carmona Mendoyo), Daisy Granados (Elena), Eslinda Núñez (Noemi), Omar Valdés (Pablo), René de la Cruz (Elena’s brother)

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Cuba

LANGUAGE: Castilian with English an French subtitles

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 97 minutes

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

PRODUCER: Miguel Mendoza

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

I remember it as if it were yesterday. The film begins. A dizzying sound of drumbeats invades the movie theatre. Pulsating bodies take the screen. Dozens, hundreds of people, mostly blacks and mestizos, are dancing. Everything is movement and ecstasy. All of a sudden, gunshots ring out. A man lies on the ground - a lifeless body. Surrounding him, the deafening music and the rhythm continue. The beat is frenzied. The camera travels from face to face in the crowd until it stops at a young black woman. The frame freezes on her trance-lit face. 

Thus begins Memorias del subdesarrollo, and watching it was like a shock to me. The film navigated between different states - fiction and documentary, past and present, Africa and Europe. The dialectic narrative took the form of a collage, crafted with an uncommon conceptual and cinematographic rigor. Scenes from newsreels, historical fragments and magazine headlines mixed and collided. In Memorias del subdesarrollo, Alea proved that filmic precision and radical experimentation could go hand in hand. Nothing was random. Each image echoing in the following image, the whole greater than the sum of its parts. Until then, having spent part of my childhood in Europe, I had a better knowledge of Italian neorealism and the French new wave than I did of the cinematic currents in Latin America. I admired Rossellini and Visconti and the early films of Godard and Truffaut - and with good reason. On taking the camera to the streets and showing the faces and lives of ordinary people, the neorealists and the directors of the nouvelle vague had fomented a true ethical and aesthetic revolution in films. 

But Memorias del subdesarrollo carried with it something more. A point of view that was vigorous, original and, more importantly, pertained directly to us, Latin Americans. It was like a reverse angle - one that seemed more resonant to me than that which was prevalent in other latitudes.

- Walter Salles

 

I remember that soon after the Revolution, everybody (and I mean everybody) thought that our island could be transformed, from one moment to the next, into a sort of Switzerland of the Caribbean. We had everything we needed: the people, the weapons, the enthusiasm, and the opportunity to re-build our country from scratch. Only later did we understand that we were basically a farming country, that industrialization would take more time than we had hoped, and that our island was small, poor and underdeveloped. All of a sudden, everything that had once seemed within arm’s reach was further and further away. The new reality is a radical one. We don’t just need a new economy, new politics, a new society. We need a new way of thinking, and this will take longer. For now, we have to accept who we are and keep fighting, which brings me back to the concept of underdevelopment, but this time, of a moral and aesthetic nature. 

Every day, to build our society, we have to confront the type of people we despise: those who think they are the only custodians of the Revolution, who believe only they know socialist morality, and who have institutionalized mediocrity and provincialism. The bureaucrats, with or without a desk, who talk to our people as one does with children, telling us what to show them, how to address them. And since these bureaucrats believe that our people are not ready to know the whole truth, they are ashamed of them, and suffer from a national inferiority complex. I hope, with my film, to annoy, provoke and upset all of them.

- Tomás Gutiérrez Alea


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Memorias del Subdesarrollo was made possible through the use of the original camera and sound negative and a vintage duplicate positive provided and preserved by ICAIC.

The camera negative is affected overall by advanced vinegar syndrome – in particular where the duplicate negatives of archival footage are edited into the film – causing a consistent ‘halo’ on the image. Most of reel 3 was irreversibly crystallized and half of reel 4 was badly compromised by decay. The duplicate element was used to replace the image in those portions. The camera negative was scanned at 4K, using wet-gate only for the most problematic sections.

The dual bilateral variable area sound negative showed a poor photographic definition, resulting in a harsh and raspy sound, with noticeable image spread distortion. Scratches, dirt and dust on the emulsion caused heavy crackles and clicks during reproduction. Sound restoration was able to reduce these issues considerably.


CAMEROON | 1975

MUNA MOTO

Director: Jean-Pierre Dikongue-Pipa

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 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 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.


THAILAND | 2000

Mysterious Object at Noon

DOKFAH NAI MEU MAAN

Director: Apichatpong Weerasethakul

EDITING: Mingmongkol Sonakul, Apichatpong Weerasethakul

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Apichatpong Weerasethakul, Prasong Klimborron

PRODUCER: Gridthiya Gaweewong, Mingmongkol Sonakul

SOUND: Teekadetch Watcharatanin, Sirote Tulsook, Paisit Phanpruksachat, Adhinan Adulayasis

STARRING: Somsri Pinyopol, Duangjai Hiransri, To Hanudomlapr, Kannikar Narong, and the villagers of Thailand

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: Thailand

LANGUAGE: Thai

COLOR INFO: Black and White

RUNNING TIME: 88 minutes

PRODUCTION COMPANY: 9/6 Cinema Factory, Firecracker Films, Bangkok

PRODUCER: Gridthiya Gaweewong, Mingmongkol Sonakul

Restored in 2013 by the Austrian Film Museum and Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, LISTO laboratory in Vienna, Technicolor Ltd in Bangkok, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Restoration funded by Doha Film Institute.

On his journey, the director hears a story which he then asks people to continue as they wish— like a game of Chinese Whispers (and relating also to the French Surrealists’ concept of the “cadavre exquis”). The original title, Dokfah nai meu maan, roughly translates as Heavenly Flower in Devil’s Hand. The name of that flower, Dokfah, is also the name of the woman who appears in the story-within-a-film as the teacher of a young paraplegic boy. The title is reminiscent of an archetypical Thai melodrama, but in the hands of the most imaginative re interpreter of national tradition, it becomes an epic meta-narrative.

I want to give the audience the freedom to fly or to float, to just let their mind go here and there, to drift, like when we sit in a train, listen to a Walkman, and look at the landscape. It is liberating, and also the audience understands that they are not watching a routine, three act narrative.

- Apichatpong Weerasethakul


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

The restoration of Mysterious Object at Noon utilized the 35mm duplicate negative with burned-in English subtitles deposited at the Austrian Film Museum by Apichatpong Weerasethakul in 2007. This negative was struck in 1999 from the (now lost) original 16mm camera reversal element.

The duplicate negative was scanned at 3K at the Austrian Film Museum. Painstaking digital restoration work was undertaken to remove dust, scratches and other visible marks while keeping the look (and the specific defects) of the original 16mm camera reversal material intact. Color correction was carried out at the LISTO laboratory in Vienna; the 35mm optical soundtrack negative was transferred at L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna; the digital sound restoration was performed at Technicolor Ltd in Bangkok.

The restoration was carried out in close collaboration with the filmmaker and completed in June 2013. The process produced a new 35mm internegative.

Image: © Courtesy of Apichatpong Weerasethakul


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.


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.


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.


UK | 1966

RAID INTO TIBET

Director: Adrian Cowell

DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY: Chris Menges

PRODUCER: George Patterson

COUNTRY OF PRODUCTION: UK

LANGUAGE: English/Tibetan with English subtitles

COLOR INFO: Black-and-White

RUNNING TIME: 28 minutes

PRODUCER: George Patterson

Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project at Cineric Inc. laboratory in association with the Tibet Film Archive. Special thanks to the Cowell family.

In May 1964, three British filmmakers traveled with the Khampa guerrillas over a 20,000-foot pass into occupied Tibet from the remote Tsum region of Nepal and captured dramatic footage of an ambush on a Chinese military convoy. The footage was smuggled out and edited two years later in London, and officially released in 1966 to critical acclaim. Shot by Oscar-winning cinematographer Chris Menges (THE READER, LOCAL HERO, THE KILLING FIELDS), this documentary short is an important historical artifact, representing the only known footage of armed Tibetan resistance fighters in combat with the Chinese.


NOTES ON THE RESTORATION:

Restoration work was completed at Cineric in New York. The original 16mm camera negative was cleaned, repaired, then wet-gate scanned at 4K to eliminate scratches and other minor defects in the emulsion. The image was subsequently stabilized and digitally cleaned to remove dust, deep scratches, and other visible marks. Because of the extreme conditions in Tibet during the filming, Cineric implemented exposure compensation at the initial scanning of the raw material. Grading was performed by colorist Paul Ensby and supervised by Chris Menges at Technicolor London.

The original sound negative was also scanned and digitally cleaned to reduce background noise and remove clicks and pops. A new 35mm internegative with sound has been made for preservation, along with 35mm prints for conservation and access. In addition, a new HD master and DCP will be produced for digital screenings.


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


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


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


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