T. ing.: The Call From the Past. Scen.: Luciano Doria, Fausto Maria Martini. F.: Tullio Chiarini. Int.: Maria Jacobini (Giovanna Landi), Lido Manetti (Santino Frezza), Carlo Benetti (professor Velati). Prod.: Fert Film 35 mm. L.: 1764 m. D.: 86’ a 18 f/s. Col.
In 1988 Komiya Takahashi donated what was left of the great collection of his father Komiya Tomijiro (1897-1975) to the National Film Center in Tokyo. Komiya senior, son of a restaurateur, had grown up in Tokyo’s entertainment district, Asakusa, and collected the films of his youth, European productions from 1907 to 1920. As they catalogued the films and drew up condition reports, Hiroshi Komatsu and the Film Center archivists realised that many were totally, or almost totally, decomposed. But what did survive was precious enough – many unique and matchless colour prints – which were duplicated in 1991, using an internegative (Fujicolor 8510F-64) but no wetgate. This resulted in an extraordinary brilliance and colour intensity, as we could see in the breathtaking pochoir prints of Il re fantasma, La figlia del cieco and Samson, shown in recent years in Bologna. This year again, thanks to the National Film Center of Tokyo, we can show several films from the Komiya Collection, including the only pochoir-coloured print in existence of Le Miracle des fleurs (1912) and a tinted print of Gardiens des phares (Grémillon 1928). Il richiamo (1921), by Gennaro Righelli and starring his future wife Maria Jacobini, is one of the few Komiya Collection films to survive complete. Thanks to the nitrate decomposition, the character played by Jacobini undergoes a dramatic colour change in a central scene of the film… And we cannot even follow the story of Emil Albes’ Mein Name ist Spiesecke (which is not, anyway, of much interest), so absorbed are we in the fantastic play of colours brought about by the ‘post-production’ effect of time on the emulsion and the nitrate film stock.