Saturday, February 13, 2010

Berlin Film Festival 2010: The Retrospective

I'm visiting Berlin just for meetings, no films. This is what I'm missing:

The retrospective of the Berlin Film Festival 2010 is dedicated to the 60 years of history of the festival, covering films like Fröken Julie, A bout de souffle, Lebenszeichen, La notte, Ai no corrida, The Deer Hunter, The Thin Red Line, Hong gaoliang, Duoluo tianshi, and Yella.

The special gala concert was of Metropolis (DE 1927, restored version 2010), with the 30 minutes recovered from a battered Argentinian 16 mm print incorporated, now running 147 min, format: High Definition. The film was played with the original music by Gottfried Huppertz played live by Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester Berlin conducted by Frank Strobel at the Friedrichstadtpalast and transmitted simultaneously on an open-air screen at the Brandenburger Tor. I would look forward to seeing Frank Strobel with Metropolis in Helsinki.

In Zeit-Magazin 7/2010 there is an interesting article by Karen Naundorf and Matthias Stolz: "Metropolis Die Lang-Fassung". Martin Koerber (Berliner Filmmuseum) and Anke Wilkening (Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung) made the structural reconstruction of the film together with Frank Strobel (conductor, Rundfunk Sinfonieorchester). Strobel knows the 1028 precise timings of the original score by Gottfried Huppertz, and he states that for the first time in his lifetime the score really fits well. The computer expert Thomas Bakels developed a new computer program that he has named Rettmagic to restore digitally the image from terrible Buenos Aires source material. Martin Koerber had said that he had never seen such bad source material with faulty framelines, instability of the image, black scratches overall, loss of light definition, holes in the image, double exposure through careless printing from the worn 35 mm onto 16 mm. Magic would seem to be the word for a case like this.

Rainer Werner Fassbinder's science fiction tv film Welt am Draht ("The World in a Web", DE 1973), 185 min, has been difficult to see in decades, and now it is being shown in a cinema in a restored version, and also released on dvd. Prophetically, it is about the cyberworld. To quote from the programme information: "In 1973 Rainer Werner Fassbinder made a film about computer-simulated realities. The plot of the two-part production fro television revolves around a supercomputer that is able to create a completely artificial world. The machine is being developed in an institute, whose director experiences hallunicatory changes in consciousness. Fassbinder used "classic" genre motifs to effectively reflect on the question of corruption and manipulation. Welt am Draht will have its first ever cinema screening at the Berlinale."

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