World Cinema Project – Volume I.

Mest

Mest

Eureka / Masters of Cinema,  Region B Blu-ray.

This new disc contains three films restored under the auspices of the World Cinema Foundation. Since 2007 the Foundation has done sterling work restoring classics from earlier periods of cinema. There are different discs with different titles in different territories. So in the USA Criterion have produced a box set whilst in France it is the Carlotta label. The UK release contains three titles, Dry Summer ((Susuz yaz, Dir. Metin Erksan, Turkey 1964), Trances (Dir. Ahmed El Maanouni, Morocco 1981) and Revenge (Mest, Dir. Ermek Shinarbaev, USSR 1989). The three respectively deal with a village conflict over a dam: a documentary about a Moroccan band: and an allegorical period film set in Kazakhstan. The films are introduced by Martin Scorsese who has been the key figure in the Foundation. And in each case the restoration has returned to the original film and consulted with the filmmakers, since all three films have suffered from at least two of the ravages of time, distributors. and censors.

It seems that the production of digital releases has been partly hampered by the films’ rights in particular territories. The US set has six titles and the French set, which unfortunately does not have English sub-titles only French, contains four titles, including Redes. Moreover this DVD came out over a year ago. The review in Sight & Sound praises the quality of the UK release disc. Unfortunately there do not seem to have been many screenings of the original restorations, nearly all are available in 35mm prints or on DCP, in the UK. I hope we will not find exhibitors using this Blu-ray as a substitute for the ‘real thing’. Note, most of the restorations by the Foundation have been screened at Il Cinema Ritrovato and usually in 35mm prints.

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