Blu-ray and DVD Awards 2024 | The winners

On Friday, June 28th in Piazzetta Pier Paolo Pasolini the winners of Il Cinema Ritrovato Blu-ray and DVD Awards 2024 were announced. The competition was open to DVDs and Blu-rays released between February 2023 and March 2024 of critically acclaimed films made before 1994.

The jury, composed by Lorenzo Codelli, Shivendra Singh Dungarpur, Philippe Garnier, Pamela Hutchinson, Miguel Marías and Paolo Mereghetti (president) assigned the following awards.

Best Box Set

PASOLINI 101 (The Criterion Collection) — Blu-ray Box Set

This extraordinary and elegant Box Set offers, in nine Blu-rays several masterpieces by Pier Paolo Pasolini, all beautifully restored in 4K and 2K, in addition to two short films, La ricotta and La sequenza del fiore di carta. To emphasise the importance of this edition, it would suffice to mention that some of these films are not even available in Italy. However, the excellence of this Box Set does not stop there, between documentary footage signed by the same director, interviews, audio commentaries, television programmes and a 100-page booklet by critic James Quandt illustrated with drawings by Pasolini himself.




Best Special Features

FOOLISH WIVES (Flicker Alley) — Blu-ray + DVD   

Anyone who was in the Piazza Maggiore in 2022 for the triumphant centenary screening of Erich Von Stroheim’s Foolish Wives will have been overawed by the grand spectacle of this film, and also by the monumental work that went into this restoration. This beautiful edition from Flicker Alley presents the silent melodrama in all its glory, with its stunning new score by Timothy Brock, which is a special feature in itself. Further, the bonus features take us behind the scenes on the making of the film – Von Stroheim films have the most exciting production histories, and this, the “first million-dollar movie” is no exception. But there are also valuable supplements here on the restoration by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival and The Museum of Modern Art, New York, which are fascinating too. A model on how to present silent cinema in the 21st century.




Best Rediscovery of a Forgotten Film

LAUREL & HARDY: YEAR ONE (Flicker Alley) — Blu-ray

A restoration of some of the earliest Laurel & Hardy shorts which were either out of circulation or badly recut for years.









Best Single Film Release

THAMP (Second Run) — Blu-ray

The valuable restoration of this film that has long fallen into oblivion represents a new pearl in the series of rediscoveries due to the Indian Film Heritage Foundation, which celebrated its 10 year anniversary at Il Cinema Ritrovato. Shivendra Dungarpur who chairs the Foundation introduced the restoration of Thamp a year ago in Bologna: “Govindan’s cinema is a mirror that reflects reality and its magic. In my opinion, he is one of the greatest Indian masters, whose name should be placed side by side with Satyajit Ray and Ritwik Ghatak in the history of our cinema. Even today Aravindan represents a legend in Kerala”. The Economic Times of India highlighted the rediscovery of Thamp: “A work full of mysterious shadows and magical situations through a succession of realistic images created by the highly original poet Aravindan and the extraordinary visual talent of his cinematographer Shaji N. Karun”.  Govindan explores the ripples created by the arrival of a travelling circus in a remote Indian village. Circus life is captured in striking images that would have appealed to “circus” filmmakers such as Chaplin, De Mille and Fellini.





Best Film (The Peter von Bagh Award)

AMERICAN TRILOGY — MICHAEL ROEMER (Les Films du Camélia): Nothing But a Man / The Plot Against Harry / Vengeance Is Mine — Blu-ray Box Set

When they made Nothing But a Man in 1963, the story of a working class black man and a school teacher set in Alabama, Michael Roemer and producer Robert M. Young had to shoot it in Atlantic City and New Jersey because the Birmingham locations were too hot for two white men. It is also typical of Roemer that he considered his first feature and only critical success “just a story”, hinting that this classically made drama was too much of a concession for him. He remained independently obscure for the rest of his career, which was only resurrected a decade ago and presented here in a box of three of his major works and ample supplements. Striking as the three films all are, each in different ways, the main pleasure is to discover a man, now 96, telling us why he knew from the start that he “could never work for the movie industry”. The charm, modesty and humour of this survivor makes this Box Set more than a discovery. The TV film Vengeance Is Mine (1984) is as mysterious and as changing as its main actress’ face (the wonderful Brooke Adams), or as Roemer’s smile in the many encounters included in this essential Box.







Lorenzo Codelli
(Divisa Red) — Blu-ray  

This animated feature released in 1950 – the second to be produced in Spain – was made in 35mm using the Cinefotocolor system and received a special mention award at the 11th Venice Film Festival. Prominent Catalan personalities, intellectuals, politicians, artists and technicians participated in this piece of cinema. The splendid restoration thanks to the Filmoteca de Catalunya does justice to the imaginative adaptation of Charles Perrault’s Cinderella. The film had the misfortune of competing with the simultaneous release of Walt Disney’s famous Cinderella and was only released in eight copies in Spain. Esteve Riambau, director of the Filmoteca de Barcelona, introduced this restoration at Il Cinema Ritrovato in 2023 by praising the film’s strong humour tinged with slapstick and emphasising its countless iconographic references to Catalan and international cultures, particularly that of the Italian Renaissance.


Philippe Garnier
RAYMOND GRIFFITH — THE SILK HAT COMEDIAN (Undercrank Productions): Paths to Paradise / You’d Be Surprised — Blu-ray

Raymond Griffith was truly the silent man of silent movies: diphtheria permanently damaged his vocal cords when he was a boy. And he died choking on a bone in 1957. Some people only have irresistible biographies, but this accomplished comedian who started on the stage at age seven became a popular class act in the 1920s. With his wry smile and his silk hat, at Paramount he treaded more on Lubitsch’s territory than on Mack Sennett’s, for whom he’d also worked as a writer and gag man. Almost as complex in plot and situation comedy as his most well-known surviving picture Hands Up! (1926), Paths to Paradise (1925): the best of the two films featured on this Blu-ray disk, is the best introduction to this largely forgotten artist.


Pamela Hutchinson / Shivendra Singh Dungarpur
(The Criterion Collection) — Blu-ray Box Set

Shivendra and I both agreed on this Criterion set as our personal favourite in this year’s shortlist. Chantal Akerman needs no introduction here in Bologna, but we can say two things about her work. One is that her films – masterpieces as this set names them – have not always been as available to audiences as we would like, and the second is that their increased visibility in recent years has led to a resurgence in her reputation and indeed the praise of the Sight and Sound critics who voted one of the films in this set The Greatest Film of All Time two years ago. This box set further supports the ascent of Akerman: her first decade of work, presented in stunning new restorations with an impressive amount of supporting material from critics and her collaborators. The seriousness of the curation reflects the strength of these films, which are characterised by their formal elegance, and haunting complexity.


Miguel Marías
(Kino Lorber) — Blu-ray

A wonderful collection of rarely seen films about American popular music.


Paolo Mereghetti
DELPHINE SEYRIG BOX SET (ARTE Editions) — Blu-ray Box Set

A nonconformist actress who became an icon of militant feminism, Seyrig was “rediscovered” with the triumph of Jeanne Dielman, 23 quai du Commerce, 1080 Bruxelles voted best film according to Sight and Sound. ARTE conveniently published a Box Set with 6 Blu-rays where along with Akerman’s film there are also those where she is directed by Marguerite Duras, Harry Kümel, Guy Gilles, Liliane de Kermadec as well as three films directed by the actress herself with the “Les Insoumuses” collective. Accompanied by 5 hours of extras with critical interventions and interviews with those who worked with her.