Retrospective, Berlinale Classics & Homage
Jan 15, 2024
The 2024 Berlinale Classics Section Presents Ten World Premieres of Films in Their Digitally Restored Versions
For the Berlinale Classics section of the 74th Berlin International Film Festival, Rainer Rother and his team have gathered a spectrum of film genres with stunning visuals and audio. The selection ranges from early sound film experiment to a sober and distanced black-and-white drama, to colourful, artful exploitation. All the restorations will be world premieres.
In its 70th anniversary year, Ishirō Honda’s Gojira (Godzilla) will return to the big screen. The new 4K restoration of one of the most successful films in Japanese cinema history was commissioned by the TOHO Archive Co. Ltd. It not only honours the film’s visual brilliance, but also salutes the superb sound design and the stirring music by Akira Ifukube.
Paramount’s 4K restoration of John Schlesinger’s The Day of the Locust is equally impressive in the way it pays tribute to the film’s striking production values. With costumes and sets that establish the historical scene, the introspective studio production from 1974 takes pride of place among the most visually resplendent films to come from New Hollywood. The restoration is presented by Park Circus.
Set at the start of a nuclear apocalypse, Andrei Tarkovsky’s drama Offret (The Sacrifice, 1986) is a powerful pictorial parable of human (mis)behaviour in the face of war and environmental destruction. The 4K restoration by the Svenska Filminstitutet is faithful to the masterful lighting design and colour composition, including the sepia and black-and-white passages.
Germany is represented with Reifezeit (Time of Maturity) by director Sohrab Shahid Saless. The film is a precisely observed, black-and-white drama of everyday life in Berlin’s working-class district of Wedding, made in 1976. The restoration was done as part of a transnational project by the Shahid Saless Archive, with the goal of making the entire oeuvre of the Iranian director, who worked in Germany from 1974 to 1992, available.
Berlinale Classics will also showcase two gems by Ernst Lubitsch. The first is his silent film Kohlhiesels Töchter (Kohlhiesel’s Daughters) (see press release of Oct. 31, 2023), featuring new music composed by Leopold Hurt that will be performed by members of the Berlin Philharmonic; also screening will be Lubitsch’s first talkie The Love Parade. Made before the stringent rules of the Hays Code took effect, the latter film is a romance that had a defining influence on the genre of film operettas; the 4K restoration was done by Universal Pictures in partnership with The Film Foundation.
In 1981, Deprisa, deprisa by Carlos Saura, about a gang of young delinquents, won the Golden Bear in Berlin; it returns to the Berlinale in a new 4K restoration for which reference material supervised by the director was used. The film, considered to have significant influence on the style of Spain’s “Cine quinqui” genre, was restored by the Spanish production company Video Mercury Films.
One highlight of the section is the digital restoration of 1985’s After Hours, screening in honour of this year’s Honorary Golden Bear recipient Martin Scorsese (see press release of Dec. 21, 2023). It was done by the Criterion Collection and Warner Bros., in cooperation with Park Circus, using 35 mm source material from the director’s collection. Scorsese worked with editor Thelma Schoonmaker on the colour correction for the restoration.
The Berlinale Classics section is also presenting two specials – the new 4K restoration of Carlos Reygadas’ Batalla en el cielo (Battle in Heaven) and Tsai Ming-liang’s Tian bian yi duo yun (The Wayward Cloud), both from 2005. The restoration of Batalla en el cielo, initiated by the Coproduction Office and done under the supervision of Reygadas, gives expression to the provocative visual impact of this hyper-realistic appraisal of Mexican society’s social divide. By contrast, Tsai Ming-liang’s love story Tian bian yi duo yun, which won the Silver Bear in Berlin, is about isolation and alienation in a big city. The restoration by Homegreen Films, done in cooperation with Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute, sharply accentuates the contrast between the quiet, dusky, urban scenes and the bright, colourful musical numbers.
Berlinale Classics will welcome guests at the screenings. They will present the restorations in short introductions.
For detailed technical information on the restoration of the films, please contact:
January 15, 2024