Since 1990, Martin Scorsese has devoted the non-filmmaking part of his career to film preservation, whether that means the classics of Hollywood or world cinema. The over 900 restorations that he’s helped fund through the Film Foundation non-profit have been the subject of Criterion Collection box sets, special anniversary screenings and festival showings, and now a special monthly online screening room will give viewers a chance to see some familiar and not-so-familiar films that have been saved from destruction.
According to the welcome message at the Restoration Screening Room, “Presentations will take place within a 24-hour window on the second Monday of each month, along with Special Features about the films and their restoration process. Monthly programming will encompass a broad array of restorations, including classic and independent films, documentaries, and silent films from around the world.’”
As of this writing, the window has closed for its inaugural film, Powell and Pressburger’s 1945 I Know Where I’m Going! but you can still click through to see the extras that come with the film: an Introduction by Scorsese; an interview with Scorsese’s long-time editor Thelma Schoonmaker (who was also Powell’s spouse for six years until 1990 and who worked on the restoration); Kent Jones interviewing Kevin Macdonald, the grandson of Pressburger and his biographer; the Film Foundation’s Margaret Bodde interviewing Tilda Swinton, a huge fan of the film; directors Joanna Hogg and Scorsese talking about the film; a before and after look at the restoration; an image gallery; and finally a links page called “explore” that is quite overwhelming in its thoroughness.
The 4K restoration’s next stop is the Criterion Channel, so if you subscribe to that paid service, find it there. But the Film Foundation’s premieres are completely free and feature a live chat on the screening night.
In the coming months look forward to Fellini’s La Strada (June 13), Govindan Aravindan’s Kummatty (July 11), a double feature of The Chase (d. Arthur Ripley) and Detour (d. Edgar G. Ulmer) (August 8); Sarah Maldoror’s Sambizanga (Sep. 12), Marlon Brando’s One Eyed Jacks (October 10); John Huston’s Moulin Rouge (November 14); and Jonas Mekas’ Lost Lost Lost on December 12.
The site has no trailers, but we’ve got you covered:
The Art of Restoring Classic Films: Criterion Shows You How It Refreshed Two Hitchcock Movies
Iconic Film from 1896 Restored with Artificial Intelligence: Watch an AI-Upscaled Version of the Lumière Brothers’ The Arrival of a Train at La Ciotat Station
The Joy of Watching Old, Damaged Things Get Restored: Why the World is Captivated by Restoration Videos
Ted Mills is a freelance writer on the arts who currently hosts the Notes from the Shed podcast and is the producer of KCRW’s Curious Coast. You can also follow him on Twitter at @tedmills, and/or watch his films here.
Would like to see report to the commoner. This is an overlooked masterpiece in my opinion.
Report to the commissioner. Not commoner.