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MoMA's Seventh Annual International Festival of Film Preservation Showcases Newly Restored Masterworks
Die Abenteur des Prinzen Achmed (The Adventures of Prince Achmed). 1926. Germany. Directed by Lotte Reiniger.
NEW YORK, NY.- The Museum of Modern Art presents To Save and Project: The Seventh MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation, its annual festival of preserved and restored films from international film archives and studios around the world, from October 24 through November 16, 2009. Spanning more than 75 years of film history, from 1921 to 2000, the festival comprises over 25 films, virtually all of them having their New York premieres, and some shown in versions never before seen in the United States. To Save and Project is organized by Joshua Siegel, Associate Curator; Anne Morra, Assistant Curator; and Katie Trainor, Film Collections Manager; all of the Department of Film, The Museum of Modern Art.

This year’s edition of To Save and Project includes feature-length and short films by such major directors as Michelangelo Antonioni, Ingmar Bergman, John Cassavetes, Frank Capra, Jean Epstein, Robert Flaherty, Kim Ki-young, Stanley Kubrick, Marcel L’Herbier, Chris Marker, Lotte Reiniger, Victor Sjöström, and Luchino Visconti. A weeklong run of Cassavetes’s A Woman under the Influence (1974) kicks off the festival, and will be introduced by the actress Gena Rowlands on October 24; and Lotte Reiniger’s animated feature The Adventures of Prince Achmed (1926) will be introduced by the artist Kara Walker on November 11.

The festival encompasses dramatic, documentary, experimental works, and more. A special program is devoted to the Chicago amateur filmmaker Margaret Conneely; a celebration of home movies, entitled Mama, Don’t Take My Kodachrome Away!, offers a glimpse into the private lives of Alfred Hitchcock and Joan Crawford among others; and Sweden’s Matti Bye Ensemble performs live its haunting original scores to two classics of Scandinavian cinema, Victor Sjöström’s The Phantom Chariot (1921) and Benjamin Christensen’s Häxan: Witchcraft through the Ages (1922), both introduced by Jon Wengström, curator of the Swedish Film Institute.

Following the opening night screening of John Cassavetes’ masterpiece, A Woman under the Influence, the festival continues with two classics of 1950s Italian melodrama that differ radically in their styles and portrayals of complex women: Luchino Visconti’s Senso (1954), one of the most vibrant Technicolor films ever made, starring Alida Valli and Farley Granger; and Michelangelo Antonioni’s modernist breakthrough Le Amiche (1955). MoMA premieres its own newly restored and tinted original silent release of Robert Flaherty’s landmark Nanook of the North (1922).

For this year’s Conservator’s Choice sidebar, MoMA celebrates the work of Sony Pictures Repertory by inviting Grover Crisp, Senior Vice President of Asset Management, Film Restoration & Digital Mastering, to present four stunning new restorations: Frank Capra’s Forbidden (1933), a pre-Code gem starring Barbara Stanwyck (shown with a behind-the-scenes Columbia short with Capra himself); Richard Brooks’ unjustly neglected, all-star Western The Professionals (1966); and Bob Rafelson’s The King of Marvin Gardens (1972), starring Jack Nicholson.

The festival features Marcel L’Herbier’s rarely seen masterpiece L’Argent (1928), a corrosive and timely depiction of rampant capitalist greed. Also featured are two seminal French political documentaries of the 1960s: Chris Marker and Pierre Lhomme’s Le joli mai (1963), and Loin de Vietnam (Far from Vietnam) (1967), a collaborative work by Jean-Luc Godard, Joris Ivens, William Klein, Claude Lelouch, Chris Marker, Alain Resnais, Agnès Varda, and others.

Artist Kara Walker introduces a new restoration of Lotte Reiniger’s The Adventures of Prince Achmed, considered one of the earliest surviving animated features in film history and still one of the most ravishing. Many of Walker’s prints, drawings, and multiples are included in MoMA’s collection, and the artist has cited Reiniger as an influence on her work. Jon Wengström, curator of the Swedish Film Institute, introduces the North American premiere of the rarely screened bilingual version of Ingmar Bergman’s Beröringen (The Touch) (1971), starring Elliott Gould, Max von Sydow, and Bibi Andersson; and Stig Björkman’s Ingmar Bergman (1972), a fascinating documentary about the making of The Touch, in which Bergman rehearses with his actors, discusses set-ups with cinematographer Sven Nykvist, and talks in depth about his views on directing.

Other revelations in the festival include Hanyo (The Housemaid) (1960), a psychosexual melodrama by the influential Korean filmmaker Kim Ki-young, and Gamperaliya (1964), a Chekhovian tale by the underappreciated Sri Lankan filmmaker Lester James Peries.

MoMA presents its new restoration of Stanley Kubrick’s documentary The Seafarers (1953), pairing it with Jean Epstein’s sublime poem of Brittany and the sea, Mor vran (1930), which Henri Langois called “one of the most beautiful documentaries in the history of French cinema.” The Museum’s tradition of partnering with New York Women in Film and Television continues with the New York premieres of short films by Chicago amateur filmmaker Margaret Conneely from the late 1950s to early 1960s, and the 1926 circus melodrama Christine of the Big Tops, written by the Academy-Award-winning Hollywood screenwriter Sonya Levien.

And, for the first time, the festival celebrates home movies by dedicating an entire program to them, offering an exciting look at Alfred Hitchcock and Joan Crawford; the New Orleans films of Helen Hill; small gems from Nashville’s Country Music Hall of Fame; and three home movies that have been named to the National Film Registry: Wallace Kelley’s Our Day (1938), Robbins Barstow’s Disney Land Dream (1956), George Ingmire’s Think of Me First as a Person (1960s-1970s/2006)—all of which have been recently preserved by American archives.

All of the films in To Save and Project have been recently preserved and restored by archives around the world, including MoMA’s Department of Film, as well as by Hollywood and European studios and distributors.

The Museum of Modern Art | To Save and Project | MoMA International Festival of Film Preservation | Joshua Siegel | Ingmar Bergman | Stanley Kubrick |


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