Presenters: Robert Byrne, Stefan Drössler, Bruce Goldstein, Thierry Lecointe, and Hisashi Okajima
FLIPPING OVER EARLY CINEMA
A virtually unknown Parisian entrepreneur inadvertently saved a piece of early cinema with his small business making flipbooks from the films of the Gaumont company, Thomas Edison, and Georges Méliès. Restorer ROBERT BYRNE and researcher and historian THIERRY LECOINTE share the cinematic wonders found hidden away in this fin de siècle novelty and what it took to return them to the movie screen. (For more on this rediscovery, see essay on Leon Beaulieu’s Pocket Cinematograph).
WAITING TO EXPORT
Robert Reinert’s Opium was one in a line of super-productions made in Germany at the tail end of World War I hoping to break open the international market once peace was finally declared. STEFAN DRÖSSLER, head of Filmmuseum München, talks about reconstructing Opium from the different negatives cut at the time, one for the domestic market, another for export, as well as the search for crucial nitrate fragments of the film’s premiere version. Drössler also brings clips of another restoration project, the six-part film Homunculus, written by Reinert and the one that made his name. (For more on Opium see the essay.)
JUST THE RIGHT TENOR
In 1930 Nikkatsu debuted its Mina Talkie process by putting Japan’s beloved opera star on film. Directed by the great Kenji Mizoguchi Hometown (Furusato) features Yoshie Fujiwara known as “Our Tenor.” By the time the film was rediscovered in Tokyo some forty years later, the Mina Talkie system, like many others that emerged during the transition from silents, was all but forgotten. HISASHI OKAJIMA, director of the National Film Archive of Japan, talks about how they determined the film’s proper frame rate and how it affects the pitch of Fujiwara’s inimitable voice.
WHEN SILENTS GOT NO RESPECT
Director of repertory programming at New York’s Film Forum and founder of Rialto Pictures, BRUCE GOLDSTEIN illustrates the time “When Silents Got No Respect”—parodied and ridiculed with facetious commentaries—as soon as talkies came in.
Presented at SFSFF 2019 with live music by Stephen Horne
Image credit: Pamela Gentile