Recovered & Restored includes strong elements from both Italian and German cinema: auteurs in the class of Pastrone and Ermanno Olmi, as well as little known filmmakers like Leo Lasko, director of Die Lou von Montmartre, and master Lupu Pick, whose production is known only for the extraordinary force of a few films, and is otherwise all but forgotten. This is important: we are facing half-known filmographies whose entire contents are more or less ignored. We walk through a sort of shadow history, into an uncharted land of the possible and the potential. An important challenge therefore lies not just in the films, but in the patient work that puts filmographies into movement, bringing new contours to their geology.
Again, major filmmakers like Josef von Sternberg (who created a German cabaret and a Japanese island for us, with all the conviction which true fiction can hold) and marginal filmmakers, like the new «B» contribution from the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique, are equal. This allows us to watch the Monty Banks movie Racing Luck with the same absolute curiosity that we possess when watching newly restored copies of Der blaue Engel and The Saga of Anatahan - in forms and glory never witnessed before.
Orson Welles, whom Bologna has been conversing with for some years now (thanks to the film archive in Munich), is a separate case, as there will not really be any new films, but instead other personal materials and fascinating tidbits, all of which authenticated by his hand, almost to the same degree as his major films.
The case of Lola Montès is destined to have a separate paragraph. With the restoration of its German version (Lola Montez), we are one step closer to knowing one of the great enigmas of modern cinema - a so called failure at the time, and a cinephilic sensation ever since.
Peter von Bagh