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Source of all the films in this programme: BFI National Archive, London. Copy: DCP; total running time: 14 min. Le Giornate del Cinema Muto, Pordenone. Introduced by Bryony Dixon. Grand piano: John Sweeney. Teatro Verdi, 1 Oct 2017. Bryony Dixon (GCM 2017): " For five years the BFI National Archive has been working on a project to make freely accessible 10,000 titles from the U.K.’s film collections. As part of this we decided to digitize all of our Victorian films – that is, British films from 1895 to 1901 (up to the end of the year in which Queen Victoria died), a total of some 700 or so titles. As part of the project we are also restoring our large-format early films from this period, in 60 mm and 68 mm (whether British-produced or not), and the unique nitrate copies in the collection not yet preserved." "Prior to the launch of the completed project we are pleased to offer the audience of the Giornate a little preview of these “in progress” restorations. The large-format restoration work is being overseen by Bryony Dixon, Ben Thompson, and Kieron Webb of the BFI, with scanning work by the expert team at Haghefilm Digitaal, who are of course well known to the Giornate audience." "The project is an exploration of the technical possibilities which a return to the original 60 mm and 68 mm elements in the digital era can offer, and builds on the excellent analogue restoration of Biograph films originally led by the Nederlands Filmmuseum (now EYE Filmmuseum) at Haghefilm in the 1990s, when the films were reduced to 35 mm for preservation and viewing purposes (in fact, they were screened at the Giornate in 2000: see that year’s catalogue, pp.81-98, and Griffithiana no. 66/70)." "The research for the project has revealed some new identifications, despite this being a well-documented era of film history. Among the unique nitrates are a wonderful panorama taken by Charles Urban and George Albert Smith on a trip around Italy for the Warwick Trading Company and another new R. W. Paul discovery! " Bryony Dixon All film notes by Bryony Dixon. 68 mm, British Mutoscope and Biograph Company FEEDING THE PIGEONS IN ST. MARK’S SQUARE (1898) 42″ (30 fps). W. K. L. Dickson himself with a female companion and a little girl feeding the pigeons . AA: Fascinating to witness them here, not far from we are watching this show. Low contrast. The speed could be higher, 40 fps? GRAND CANAL, VENICE (1898) 30″ (26 fps). A fragment of a panorama of the Grand Canal from a boat . AA: A tracking shot like the famous pioneering Lumière Vue N° 295, Panorama du Grand Canal pris d’un bateau. Low contrast. PANORAMIC VIEW OF THE VEGETABLE MARKET, VENICE (1898) 34″ (28 fps). Taken from a boat passing the crowds of vendors on a busy market day . AA: Also a tracking shot from a moving boat, now recording the lively bustle of the market. Low contrast. NEAPOLITAN DANCE AT THE ANCIENT FORUM OF POMPEII (1898) 32″ (26 fps). A folk dance, staged in the ruins of Pompeii. With the Arch of Tiberius in the near distance and Arch of Caligula in the far distance . AA: A fascinating view, could run faster, low contrast. PANORAMIC VIEW OF FRERE CAMP TAKEN FROM THE FRONT OF AN ARMOURED TRAIN (1899) 26″ (20 fps). “Phantom ride” showing the British encampment at Frere in South Africa during the Boer War. W. K. L. Dickson apologized for the unavoidable vibration, in his account of the filming . AA: A thrilling glimpse of the Boer War, low contrast. MENAI BRIDGE: THE IRISH DAILY MAIL FROM EUSTON ENTERING THE TUBULAR BRIDGE (1898) 38″ (24 fps). Glorious view of the express train going across the famous Britannia tubular bridge across the Menai Strait in North Wales . AA: A train going into a tunnel and another train emerging from it on the parallel rails. WARSHIPS AT SUNSET (1900) 22″ (30 fps). View of four warships cruising with a superimposed “sunset”. It’s possible that this “day for night” print was intended to be coloured . AA: At sea: a tracking shot, a travelling arrière photographed from the ship's stern. AMANN THE GREAT IMPERSONATOR (1899) 38″ (20 fps). The famous quick-change artist Ludwig Amann impersonates Emile Zola and Alfred Dreyfus . AA: Another Fregolinade: the quick-change artist's lightning-fast impersonations. 60 mm [PRESTWYCH PLATFORM SCENE] (c.1900) 47″ (16 fps). Unidentified 60 mm film directly taken from a 68 mm negative – probably shot at Wood Green station in north London around 1900. The man walking along the platform must be known to the cameraman and may be a British pioneer filmmaker, but we are still working on identifying him . AA: Another train arriving on a station. There is also yet another train arriving. Low contrast. FAT OX 1897. CAR OF THE ‘SHE-CATS’ – THE HATS (1897) 1′ (10 fps). prod: Gaumont Company. A contender for the most bizarrely named film in the BFI National Archive, Car of the ‘She-Cats’ was one of several scenes filmed by Gaumont of the “Promenade du Boeuf gras”, part of the famous Paris carnival, a centuries-old “mardi gras”celebration held in February . AA: There is much to see in this lively record of the mardi gras party. VIENNA STREET SCENE (1896) 42″ (14 fps). prod: Gaumont Company. A typical early street scene taken by the Gaumont Company using the Demenÿ 60 mm system, which gave excellent resolution and registration, and allowed for more projection light . AA: Heavy traffic in Vienna. Unique Nitrates PANORAMA OF POMPEII (1901) 345 ft., 6′ (16 fps). prod: Warwick Trading Company. A 360-degree pan of the ruins at Pompeii with Vesuvius in the background. The film was one of a series taken by Charles Urban and George Albert Smith for the Warwick Trading Company on a tour of Italy . AA: An impressive 360 degree pan. Smoke emerges from the Vesuvius. Sheep graze in the meadow. Another pan takes us 360 degrees in reverse. Stern ladies. Excavation workers. Very low contrast. Added film? The volcanic Etna. Daring visitors scale the volcano. There are sedan chairs for the distinguished visitors. Very low contrast. FUN ON A CLOTHESLINE (1897) 75 ft, 1’15” (16 fps). dir: Robert W. Paul. A nitrate that had never been duplicated from the BFI’s collection, listed with a “given” title, [Gypsy Camp Drama], and dated 1896, turned out to be one of my “most wanted” lost R. W. Paul films. Fun on a Clothesline, from 1897, stars Harry Lamore, the famous slack-wire walker . AA: One of the earliest comedies in film history, simple tightrope-walking acrobatic fun on a clothesline. Bryony revealed that the man sporting a beard on the left is probably R. W. Paul himself. AA: Bryony Dixon announced that the agenda of this great project of the BFI is "to put the smile back on the Victorian face". I have seen appetizers now both in Bologna and in Pordenone and look forward to more. This is a wonderful show, but I was puzzled over the visual quality. I saw almost all of the 11 "Wonders of the Biograph" shows in 2000 in Le Giornate in Sacile , curated by Nico de Klerk with his colleagues. I admired BFI's new large format appetizers this summer in the Anno Due screenings in Bologna . They conveyed a sense of that ancient grandeur which I failed to perceive in this show.
Avainsanat: 2017 across agenda albert alfred anno archive artist audience ben biograph boat bologna britannia british by canal car carnival change charles cinema collection company contrast daily dance despite dickson digital emile expert express eye famous fast fat female film filmed folk format borum four fragment george giornate grand harry heavy held history irish it italy john ladies large led light lightning like lively lost low lumière make market moving national near negative nico north note old pan panorama paris party paul period photographed piano pigeon pordenone possible programme quality queen quick research resolution restoration robert running saw scale scenes sedan sense several shot show smile smith some source south sporting star station summer takes team they thompson titles tour traffic train travelling urban venice vesuvius victoria vienna view visual w walker war watching who wonderful wood