The AMAZING TALES FROM THE ARCHIVES: INTO THE DIGITAL FRONTIER was hosted by festival staff member Anita Monga and featured guest speakers Andrea Kalas, Vice President of Archives at Paramount Pictures and Grover Crisp, Senior Vice President of Film Restoration and Digital Mastering at Sony Pictures. Kalas talked about the restoration of WINGS (which opened the festival last night and is available on both Blu-Ray and DVD at Amazon.com) and all the little details that went into this project. Crisp discussed the restoration of DR. STRANGELOVE and presented a side by side compassion of the original film print and the newly restored digital copy. He also did the same thing for LAWRENCE OF ARABIA. Both Kalas and Crisp participated in a Q&A session with the audience.
The first film screened was LITTLE TOYS (XIAO WANYI), a rare long lost Chinese silent film. Directed by Sun Yu, it starred Ruan Lingyu as Sister Ye, who lives in a rural village where everyone makes traditional toys. However, a series of unfortunate incidents occur in succession: her husband dies of an unknown illness, her son is kidnapped and sold to a wealthy lady in Shanghai, and her village is destroyed during an attack, forcing them to relocate to the city to keep making their toys. Ten years later, another series of unfortunate events occur, leaving Sister Ye besides herself. Blending life, love, and political and social issues, it's no wonder that the Hong Kong Film Awards voted it as part of the 100 best Chinese films of all time. Actress Ruan Lingyu was an icon of the Chinese Cinema, and after seeing this film, it's easy to understand why! Sweet, tragic, kind, and heartbreaking are just some of the emotions Lingyu conveyed in the film. The film was originally released by Lianhua Film Company in 1933 and this print came courtesy from the China Film Archive. Providing the musical score was Donald Sosin on the grand piano.
|Theatrical Movie Poster (1926)|
Philip Kaufman! His film pick for the festival was the amazing THE WONDERFUL LIE OF NINA PETROVNA, directed by Hans Schwarz and stars the absolutely stunning Brigitte Helm as Nina Petrown. In the film Nina is currently dating the high ranking German officer Col. Beranoff (Warwick Ward), but in secret, she is madly in love with lowly officer Lt. Michael Rostof (Francis Lederer but billed here as Franz Lederer). The story was just gripping, Schwarz's directing was just fantastic! Using effective sweeps, camera pans, and close-ups to tell this romantic and tragic story of young love was both beautiful and heart wrenching! Helm was simply incredible in the film! She is famous to most silent film fans for her portrayal of Maria and The Machine Man in Fritz Lang's 1927 science fiction masterpiece METROPOLIS. The film was originally released by legendary German studio UFA on May 30, 1930. The film sourse came courtesy from the F.W. Murnau Stiftung. Providing the musical accompaniment was the Mont Alto Motion Picture Orchestra,
Another fun-filled day was had by all, especially for this silent film buff! There are still two more days of the SF Silent Film Festival, so if you would like to know more about the festival and its film schedule, visit their website at http://www.silentfilm.org/index.php
Thanks for reading, and enjoy the show!