The Berlin International Film Festival, whose sixty-eighth edition runs from February 15 through 25, has announced the complete lineup of seven restorations for its Berlinale Classics program. You’ll find descriptions of all these titles at the festival’s site as well as notes on the restorations. Here, I’ve simply added a few supplementary notes.
Ewald André Dupont’s The Ancient Law (Das alte gesetz, 1923). This presentation was announced back in December, and you can read about the new score by Philippe Schoeller and the restoration drawing on “nitrate prints in five different languages found in archives in Europe and the U.S.” here.
Mikhail Kalatozov’s The Cranes Are Flying (Letyat zhuravli, 1957). Naturally, I’m going to point you to Haskell Wexler’s comments on one scene in particular and to Chris Fujiwara’s 2002 essay on “one of the landmarks of Soviet film.”
Yasujiro Ozu’s Tokyo Twilight (Tokyo boshoku, 1957). In 2007, Michael Koresky wrote that “with its shadowy downtown setting, populated by smoky mahjong parlors and Ginza bars, Tokyo Twilight feels like an entirely new milieu for the filmmaker. And its evocative, almost sinister, landscape is matched with an intense narrative that has the grip and eventual catharsis of classical tragedy.” That’s Ineko Arima in the image at the top.
Wim Wenders’s Wings of Desire (Der Himmel über Berlin, 1987). In 1986, Wenders wrote an “Attempted Description of an Indescribable Film” and followed up with an essay just after the film’s release. Michael Atkinson in 2009: “Marking Wenders’s career midpoint like a lightning strike cutting across tree rings, the movie is at once audience-seductive and demanding, holistic and aestheticized. It has beguiled the Wenders aficionado as reliably as it’s absorbed the spiritually hungry civilian, the rogue filmhead, the bookish square, and the nondenominational seeker.”
Ildikó Enyedi’s My 20th Century (Az én XX. századom, 1989). Writing for the New York Times in 1990, Judy Stone called it “an effervescent Hungarian celebration of electricity, love, movies, and the infinite possibilities of man, woman, and the chimpanzee.”
Assi Dayan’s Life According to Agfa (HaChayim Al-Pi Agfa, 1992). Looking back on Dayan’s life and career for Haaretz when he passed away in 2014, Nirit Anderman and Shany Littman noted that this is “considered one of the most important works in Israeli cinema. The film describes a night at a Tel Aviv pub that serves as a microcosm of Israeli society.”
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