Worldwide interest in the legacy of 70-mm films has intensified noticeably over the last years. To find decent, original-language prints of the films for the 70-mm Retrospective of this year’s Berlinale turned out to be a particular challenge for the Deutsche Kinemathek. Fortunately, a number of studios and archives have invested considerable amounts in their 70-mm treasures in the past few years. For instance, Twentieth Century Fox, MGM Studios and Sony/Columbia are contributing nine recently restored films to the programme. The German Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv saw the Retrospective as an opportunity to make Flying Clipper – Traumreise unter weißen Segeln (Hermann Leitner/Rudolf Nußgruber, 1961/62), the first German wide-gauge production, available again in its original format. The archive had a shrunken, faded 70-mm print of the film, and the relatively well-preserved original negative and the corresponding magnetic audio recordings. Yet worldwide only a few film laboratories are still in a position to print this material on 70-mm film stock. With Fotokem, a company in the USA, the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv had a competent partner that could be entrusted with striking a new print with a restored soundtrack - and by so doing, it has contributed significantly to preserving the legacy of German 70-mm film. Flying Clipper will be presented to the public during the Berlinale, on February 11, 2009; rightsholder and actress Hannelore Bollmann Cantor will attend the screening.
Events at the Filmhaus and Guests of the Retrospective
One of Germany’s most eminent wide-gauge enthusiasts is film director Tom Tykwer. Parts of his latest work, The International, which will open the Berlinale, were shot on 65-mm negative. In a discussion with cinematographer Frank Griebe, and ARRI’s Head of Lab & Postproduction Josef Reidinger in the Deutsche Kinemathek on February 7, Tom Tykwer will explore the course of wide-gauge film from the past to its use in present-day productions. Renowned English film historian Kevin Brownlow will go even further back in history. In his talk on February 8, he will give an overview of large-format presentations, from Biograph’s first experiments to Natural Vision and Fox Grandeur.
Among the guests attending the other panel discussions will be a number of international experts, for instance, Schawn Belston, who has been in charge of restoring many 70-mm titles at Twentieth Century Fox; and Gert Koshofer, author of the essay in this year’s Retrospective publication. Specialists like Gerhard Fromm, who is extremely versed in, e.g., Superpanorama MCS 70, will report on filmmaking with this format.
In more recent years, wide-gauge film has repeatedly demonstrated that it is the proper format for extraordinary film projects. Olivier Brunet’s Le Mariage de Fanny (1996-99), an award-winning French short film, impressively shows that 70-mm film has in no way lost its justification. In Berlin, Brunet will present his remarkable experimental film, which interweaves time and texture, mixing archive footage, grainy black-and-white pictures and stunning 65-mm images, while oscillating back and forth between documentation and fiction. Also the Norwegian director Morten Skallerud is expected to attend the Retrospective. His twelve-minute film Året gjennom Børfjord (A Year Along the Abandoned Road, 1988-91) – which is both a passage through time and space, and a portrait of a remote fishing village in northern Norway – combines a journey through four seasons with continuous movement through the village, and hence also stands for the innovative use of film as a medium.
More information about the guests and events of the Retrospective will be announced shortly at www.deutsche-kinemathek.de and www.berlinale.de.
Films in the Retrospective (subject to change)
2001: A Space Odyssey by Stanley Kubrick, with Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood, William Sylvester. GB/USA 1965-68
Baraka by Ron Fricke. USA 1990-92
Ben-Hur by William Wyler, with Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd. USA 1958/59
Cheyenne Autumn by John Ford, with Richard Widmark, Carroll Baker, Karl Malden. USA 1963/64
Cleopatra by Joseph L. Mankiewicz, with Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Rex Harrison. USA 1961-63
Dnevnyje zvyozdy (The Stars of the Day) by Igor Talankin, with Alla Demidova, Andrei Popov, Konstantin Baranov. USSR 1966/68
Flying Clipper – Traumreise unter weißen Segeln by Hermann Leitner, Rudolf Nußgruber. FRG 1961/62
Goya by Konrad Wolf with Donatas Banionis, Olivera Katarina, Fred Düren. GDR/USSR 1969-71
Hello, Dolly! by Gene Kelly, with Barbra Streisand, Walter Matthau, Louis Armstrong. USA 1968/69
Khartoum by Basil Dearden, with Charlton Heston, Laurence Olivier, Richard Johnson. GB/USA 1965/66
Lawrence of Arabia by David Lean, with Peter O’Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn. GB/USA 1961/62
Lord Jim by Richard Brooks, with Peter O’Toole, James Mason, Curd Jürgens. GB/USA 1963-65
Mutiny on the Bounty by Lewis Milestone, with Marlon Brando, Trevor Howard, Richard Harris. USA 1960-62
Optimisticheskaya tragediya (The Optimistic Tragedy) by Samson Samsonov, with Margarita Volodina, Boris Andreyev, Vyacheslav Tikhonov. USSR 1963
Patton by Franklin J. Schaffner, with George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates. USA 1968-70
Playtime by Jacques Tati, with Jacques Tati, Barbara Dennek, Jacqueline Lecomte. France/Italy 1964-67
Povest’ plamennykh let (The Story of the Flaming Years) by Julija Solnceva, with Nikolai Vingranovski, Svetlana Zhgun, Boris Andreyev. USSR 1960/61
Ryan’s Daughter by David Lean, with Sarah Miles, Robert Mitchum, Trevor Howard. GB/USA 1969/70
The Sound of Music by Robert Wise, with Julie Andrews, Christopher Plummer, Eleanor Parker. USA 1964/65
Star! by Robert Wise, with Julie Andrews, Richard Crenna, Michael Craig. USA 1967/68
Voina i mir (War and Peace) by Sergei Bondarchuk, with Lyudmila Savelyeva, Sergei Bondarchuk, Vyacheslav Tikhonov. USSR 1962-67
West Side Story by Robert Wise, Jerome Robbins, with Natalie Wood, Richard Beymer, George Chakiris. USA 1960/61
Året gjennom Børfjord (A Year Along the Abandoned Road) by Morten Skallerud. Norway 1988-91
Le Mariage de Fanny (Fanny’s Wedding) by Olivier Brunet, with Dominique Blanc, André S. Labarthe. France 1996-99
The Miracle of Todd-AO by Juan C. Hutchison. USA 1956
Sky Over Holland by John Fernhout. Netherlands 1967
January 15, 2009