Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Sampling Borom sarret (2013 World Cinema Foundation restoration)

Il carrettiere. SN 1963. D: Ousmane Sembène. SC: Ousmane Sembène. DP: Christian Lacoste. ED: André Gaudier. C: Ly Abdoulay (il carrettiere), Albourah (il cavallo). 2K DCP. 22'. B&w. French and Wolof version with English subtitles. Da: World Cinema Foundation. Cinema Lumière - Sala Officinema/Mastroianni (Il Cinema Ritrovato, Bologna), 2 July 2013

Restored in 2013 by the World Cinema Foundation in association with INA. The restoration was carried out at Laboratoires Éclair and Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna/L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory

The restoration of Borom Sarret was made possible through the use of the original camera and sound negatives provided by INA and preserved at Éclair Laboratories. The film was scanned in 4K at Éclair Laboratories and restored at L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory. The image was digitally stabilized and cleaned, and all wear marks were eliminated. Image grading helped recover the richness of the original cinematography. After digitization, the sound was digitally cleaned and background noise reduction was applied to eliminate all wear marks, without losing any of the dynamic features of the original soundtrack. The World Cinema Foundation would like to specially thank Alain Sembène and the Sembène Family for facilitating the restoration process.

Ousmane Sembène: "I think given the fact that there is such a diversity of languages in Africa, we, African filmmakers, will have to find our own way in order that the message be understood by everyone, or we'll have to find a language that comes from the image and the gestures. I think I would go as far as to say that we will have to go back and see some of the silent films and in that way find new inspiration. Contrary to what people think, we talk a lot in Africa but we talk when it's time to talk. There are also those who say blacks spend all of their time dancing - but we dance for reasons which are our own. Dancing is not a flaw in itself, but I never see an engineer dancing in front of his machine, and a continent or a people does not spend its time dancing. All of this means that the African filmmaker's work is very important - he must find a way that is his own, he must find his own symbols, even create symbols if he has to. [...] I then realized Borom Sarret, my first true short film. It is the story of a cartman who is, to some extent, the taxi driver of a horse-drawn cart. Confronted by a rich customer in a residential district prohibited to such a type of vehicle, a cop stops him, makes a complaint, and seizes the cart. Relieved of his livelihood, the poor fellow remains sadly in his place. His wife entrusts the guardianship of their children to him while saying to him "We will eat this evening". For this I got the first work prize at the Festival of Tours in 1963." Ousmane Sembène

After La Lettre de Sibérie I managed to catch the ending of Ousmane Sembène's debut film, the masterpiece Borom sarret, the foundation film of African cinema, already a fully accomplished and subtle work.

Sitting in the first row, I admired the rich, fine detail in the presentation.

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