Frame by Frame – Restoring Films
Press release, 15 Sep 21
Museum für Film und Fernsehen
Potsdamer Straße 2
Heidi Berit Zapke
+49 30 300903-820
Press release, 15 Sep 21
In a new exhibition, the Deutsche Kinemathek pays homage to the complex and laborious work of film restoration, and illuminates the work of preserving our collective visual memory. Extensive projections against a backdrop of scenes from restoration workshops, and interactive installations with a loupe and a light table will invite visitors to take a detailed look at the investigative work of film restoration.
A glimpse into the archives
The exhibition will open with the projection of almost completely destroyed frames from the silent film ‘The Ancient Law’, made by E.A. Dupont in 1923. It is the story of a young, Jewish man who falls out with his orthodox family over his decision to pursue an acting career – and is an important testimonial of Jewish life between tradition and assimilation.
The section “Legacies” documents how neglect and loss created gaps in film archives, and the extensive research restorers must undertake to find surviving film material all over the world. The best-known example of this is Fritz Lang’s silent classic ‘Metropolis’.
“Workshop” takes visitors into film restoration workshops to see how a complete film is recovered from fragments and decaying prints – in a process that is partly manual skill and partly digital procedures. After picture and sound have been restored, the focus turns to reconstituting the original gestalt of the film. The “Aesthetics and Ethics” area is dedicated to the colour correction of a restored film, which is done whenever possible in concert with the filmmaker and/or cinematographer if they are still alive. So that section also includes more recent works, such as the experimental films made by Dore O. in the 1970s, or Ula Stöckl’s 1968 debut feature ‘The Cat has Nine Lives’, shot in Techniscope.
A dialogue between film history and the present
Finally, visitors can watch segments of the restored films in the “cinema”. Contemporary filmmakers provide commentary on the projected components and explain how the restored films are relevant even today, which elucidates why they were chosen for restoration.
With this exhibition, the Deutsche Kinemathek, as the organ responsible for preserving Germany’s audio-visual legacy, will give visitors a chance to delve deeper into its core mission – (re)discovering German film production since the beginning of the motion picture era.
Guided tours of the exhibition will be available.
The exhibition “Frame by Frame – Restoring Films” is funded by the Governing Mayor of Berlin – Senate Chancellery and the Wüstenrot Foundation.
The Deutsche Kinemathek receives financial support from the German Commissioner for Culture and the Media (BKM) and Neustart Kultur, an economic assistance programme for culture and the media.
Press tour: Wednesday, 27 October 21, 11 am, Deutsche Kinemathek
Invitations will be sent out in plenty of time.
Photo: Detail from the contemporaneous French distribution print of ‘The Ancient Law’ (G, 1923, directed by E.A. Dupont), photo: Franz Frank / Deutsche Kinemathek