In 1993, the original negatives of Satyajit Ray’s The Apu Trilogy were burned in a massive nitrate fire at a laboratory in London. Even though there were no technologies available at the time capable of fully restoring such badly damaged film elements, the Academy Film Archive held on to them. And now times have changed. Watch this new video by :: kogonada to learn how the films were painstakingly rescued and restored by the Criterion Collection and the L’Immagine Ritrovata in Bologna, Italy.
The dazzling new 4K restorations of all three films open in theaters today, starting at New York’s Film Forum and playing in cities around the country in the coming weeks. To learn a lot more about the restoration process, read an interview with Criterion Technical Director Lee Kline at the A.V. Club.