The Film Foundation's World Cinema Project

2017 marks the tenth anniversary of this special programme launched by Martin Scorsese to support the restoration and dissemination of the most fragile film patrimony around the world: free, resistant filmmakers, forgotten, unknown, endangered works of art stuck on the sidelines of distribution. We will present the restored versions of Soleil Ô, the cutting and autobiographical debut film of the Mauritanian Med Hondo, and Humberto Solás’ epic Lucía, of one hundred years of Cuban history through the eyes and stories of three women. West Indies, and extraordinary Technicolor musical set on a slave ship, and Sarraounia, the story of a young warrior queen will complete our small tribute to Med Hondo, opened by Afrique sur Seine by another pioneer (and early theorist) of African cinema Paulin Soumanou Vieyra. Finally, two masterpieces by Tomás Gutiérrez Aléa: a virtual ‘reverse shot’ to last year’s pre-revolutionary Cuba: Los sobrevivientes and Una pelea cubana contra los demonios, as well as a short selection of the ICAIC Noticieros from 1960-1969.

Programme curated by Cecilia Cenciarelli

 

Revolution and Adventure: Mexican Cinema in the Golden Age

In 1933, just over a decade after the Mexican Revolution had ended, Fernando de Fuentes made El Compadre Mendoza, part of a trilogy of work that dealt with the armed uprising. The film sets the tone for this programme, which explores in depth the widespread disenchantment – political, social and economical – that the Revolution left in its wake, and the varied and exuberant artistic responses that it provoked. From the unique gothic thriller Dos monjes by Juan Bustillo Oro, to the more traditional, rural work of Emilio “El Indio” Fernández (Maclovia), or the urban melodrama Una familia de tantas by Alejandro Galindo, from the exuberance of the Caberet film, to the sophisticated, urban cinema of directors like Julio Bracho and Roberto Gavaldón, who experimented with film noir and the thriller, the selection aims to offer a broad and exciting showcase of the most important moments in the history of Mexico and Mexican cinema: a time of revolution and adventure.

Programme curated by Daniela Michel and Chlöe Roddick

 

The Japanese Period Film in the Valley of Darkness

Under the militarist regime of the late 1930s, the Japanese period film, or jidai-geki, became a refuge for liberal filmmakers seeking to comment critically on the troubles of the time. The Narutaki-gumi, an informal group of filmmakers pledged to modernise Japanese cinema, were at the heart of a new breed of jidai-geki, which opted for realism instead of stylisation and for ironic pessimism rather than heroic optimism. This programme focuses mainly on the films made at Toho studios by members of the Narutaki-gumi, and starring the Zenshin-za progressive kabuki troupe. We include both the canonical masterpiece, Humanity and Paper Balloons, directed by doomed master Sadao Yamanaka, and lesser-known classics such as Hisatora Kumagai’s The Abe Clan, which have rarely if ever been shown in the West. Alongside these films, Tamizo Ishida’s masterpiece, Fallen Blossoms, offers a unique “women’s eye view” on Japan’s tumultuous history.

Programme curated by Alexander Jacoby and Johan Nordström, in collaboration with the National Film Center, Tokyo

 

Tehran Noir: The Thrillers of Samuel Khachikian

Femme fatales, private detectives, rainy nights in a concrete jungle, desperate men in trench coats… It all sounds like a film noir, and in fact, it is, but set in a time and place you would least expect: Tehran of the 1950s! This year, Il Cinema Ritrovato shifts its focus to the golden age of Iranian genre films, by unearthing four films directed by one of the most popular and influential figures in the history of Iranian cinema, Samuel Khachikian. The films, never screened outside Iran, show Khachikian working in his most familiar territories of film policier, thriller and film noir which both documented Iran on the point of modernisation and, through the myth of cinema, contributed to it. In the world of these delightfully stylish, low-key films an overlooked face of Iranian cinema is to be discovered.

Programme curated by Ehsan Khoshbakht and Behdad Amini, in collaboration with National Film Archive of Iran