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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Bologna Diary (13) - More restorations

Santi Vina (Marut, Thailand, 1954). Screened at Cannes this year as part of its Classics program, this is a ground breaker, the first Thai film to break the bonds of the previous distribution system for local product whereby films were made on 16mm, silent and when shown were accompanied by live actors mouthing words, changing lines, commenting on the action. Santi Vina  is a polished production made on 35mm and in colour, a Buddhist tale of love, karma, destiny. It is, regrettably, of a dullness that renders all the effort somewhat void. The ending where the young man, now a monk takes food from his former love, is touching. But that's nearly two hours later.....Subsequent films by the director, I am advised, were better....

Shooting Stars (Anthony Asquith, UK, 1928). End of the silent era movie, Asquith's debut and only credited as one of two directors though he gets his name on the title. Trivial goings on except towards the end it develops quite a degree of intensity. A curiosity rather than something central to the career of a key figure in the Brit industry

King of Jazz (John Murray Anderson, USA, 1930). As previously mentioned, notwithstanding the enormous effort that has gone into restoring this two-strip Technicolour curiosity, this was not the highlight hoped for. For many, they could only report that they thought it was never going to end and the sense of disbelief at the final mixing pot number being such a failure of imagination.

Der Letze Chance (Leopold Lindberg, Switzerland, 1945)
Interesting post-war Swiss story of escapers and evaders trying to avoid capture by the Nazis in the last days of the war. A curiosity, flawed by some stilted acting in English but not without interest

Her Man (Tay Garnett, USA, 1930). Wonderful robust comedy mentioned already

Der Mude Tod (Fritz Lang, Germany, 1921). Extraordinary labour of love by the Murnau institute. Not however adjudged one of Fritz Lang's greatest works.

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