A program of rare cinema masterpieces, recently restored films and rare archived-sourced films presented in partnership with Cinema Reborn, a new movement driven by Australian cinema enthusiasts committed to discovering the relics from the past. 

The Colour of Pomegranates

If The Colour of Pomegranates were a building, it would be a world heritage site. Parajanov’s masterpiece stands as a monument of ‘poetic cinema’, an edifice composed of tableaux in the vein of Persian and Armenian miniatures.  Its images are finely balanced between the sacred and the profane, between exquisite spirituality and gleeful vulgarity. The tableaux present episodes, recalled or imagined, from the life of the 18th-century Armenian poet-troubadour Sayat Nova but (as the opening caption insists) the film not a conventional bio-pic. The film is also a paean to Armenia’s history and culture.  Tony Rayns

 

Restored in 2014 by Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata and The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, in association with the National Cinema Centre of Armenia and Gosfilmofond of Russia. Restoration funding provided by the Material World Charitable Foundation and The Film Foundation.

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Soleil O

Born in Mauritania in 1936, by 18, Med Hondo was training as a chef in Morocco before emigrating to France in 1959.  He also found small roles in film and television, observing the film-making process.  In these years, on a miniscule budget, and part financed by taking dubbing work on American movies, Hondo began making Soleil Ô, a film capturing his experiences of looking for a better life in Paris. The process took four years, but the result was accepted into Critics Week in Cannes, 1970. Possibly equally angry films were made at the time but Hondo shows from the start his powers as a real filmmaker.  He thinks in images, not polemics.

Restored by Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in collaboration with Med Hondo. Restoration funded by the George Lucas Family Foundation and The Film

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The Night of Counting the Years

The only feature film of Egyptian director, Chadi Abdel Salam, The Night of Counting the Years is based upon the true story of an Upper-Egyptian clan that robbed a cache of mummies. Visually ravishing, yet austere and poetic, The Night of Counting the Years shows influences from the later work of one of Salam’s mentors and financiers on this project, Roberto Rossellini.

Five years ago, 475 critics, writers, novelists and academics chose The Night of Counting the Years as the greatest Arab film ever made. After initial festival screenings, it all but disappeared with only poor 16mm prints in circulation until its 2009 restoration by the World Cinema Foundation and Bologna’s Cinema Ritrovato.

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In a Year with 13 Moons

Fassbinder’s 38th film was made near the end of his tragically short career. Made as a reaction to the suicide of the director’s former lover, Armin Meier, it follows the last few days in the life of transsexual Erwin/Elvira, paying one last visit to people and places with personal meaning. Probably the most intensely personal film Fassbinder ever made, its brutal honesty has caused it to be described as a film which makes Salo look like Mary Poppins. “Its only redeeming feature is genius” (Vincent Canby, The New York Times) David Hare

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Le Crime de Monsieur Lange

One of Renoir’s greatest and most-loved films, made in 1936 against a background of full throttle government reform of workers’ rights and the development of co-operative workplaces.  It tells of the life of the residents of a working class courtyard and their travails in the nearby printing shop owned by the evil Batala. The restoration now shows off Renoir’s most fluid film of that era, with its dynamic editing and use of depth of field.

In François Truffaut’s words: Of all Renoir’s films Monsieur Lange is the most spontaneous, the richest in miracle of camerawork, the most full of pure beauty and truth. In short it is a film touched by divine grace.

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