Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Germinal (1913) (2011 restoration at la Cinémathèque française)

Searching for Colour in Films: Capellani 3: Decoding the Colours of Germinal (1913) (restored at la Cinémathèque française in 2011) / Alla ricerca del colore dei film: Capellani 3: I colori ritrovati di Germinal (1913)

Catalogue: "The elements of Capellani films in the holdings of the Cinémathèque française seem to be part of a collection deposited by Pathé in 1951. It contains negatives of more than twenty films by the director, including Germinal and Quatre-vingt-treize. While the negative is certainly the best element to have for the purposes of restoration, it does not make it any easier to get a complete version."

"In the 1910s, negatives were organised so that they could be printed in small sections, preceded by a strip of leader containing the information that would be needed for editing and for the application of colour. These colour indications were, in the case of the Pathé films, coded (with numbers and letters). For a long while it was impossible to reproduce the colours of films for which only the negative survived."

"However, in 2007 new information came to light, in a notebook that had belonged to Marcel Mayer, director of the Pathé works at Joinville, and was preserved in the Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé. It allowed us to interpret the codes and we are now in a position to re-introduce the colours that were originally intended. Germinal boasts nine different tintings."

"The Courrier Cinématographique of 17 May 1913 published a report on the shooting of the film, which tells us that “the distinguished artistic director of S.C.A.G.L. is surrounded by forty or so miners, coal hauliers and pit boys and assisted by two cameramen.” This practice was normal at Pathé: they often used two cameras. Two negatives could be made, the first with the best shots, for the domestic market, and a second, for export, consisting of the less good shots. In the case of Germinal, we also hold the second negative, which is shorter."

"Germinal is one of the great films of 1913 and was, unusually, projected alone at the opening of the 1913-1914 season on 3 October, 1913." Camille Blot-Wellens.

FR 1913. D: Albert Capellani. Based on the novel by Émile Zola (1885); SC: Albert Capellani; DP: Louis Forestier, Pierre Trimbach; Cast: Henry Krauss (Lantier). Sylvie (Catherine), Jean Jacquinet (Chaval), Dharsay (Souvarine), Mévisto (Maheu), Albert Bras (Hennebeau), Jeanne Cheirel (la Maheude), Paul Escoffier (Négrel), Cécile Guyon (Cécile Hennebeau), Marc Gérard (Bonnemort); P: S.C.A.G.L. (Pathé No. 6224). 35 mm. 3017. 147’ a 18 fps. Tinted. Intertitres français. From: La Cinémathèque française. Restored in 2011. Wednesday, 29 June 2011, 14.30 at Cinema Jolly (Bologna, Il Cinema Ritrovato). Accompagnamento alla fisarmonica di Marc Perrone. Presentano Sophie Seydoux (Fondation Jérôme Seydoux-Pathé), Camille Blot-Wellens (La Cinémathèque française), e Mariann Lewinsky.

AA: I sampled this screening to get an impression of the new beautiful restoration, which reproduces the tinting of the film. Colour certainly adds to the film which has been available in a beautiful black and white La Cinémathèque française restoration by Renée Lichtig (see my comment 1997).

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