A film festival at the Wexner Center for the Arts showcases restored films-including some that had been considered unsalvageable.
An Alfred Hitchcock thriller. A documentary account of the author of "Naked Lunch." A dozen animated Walt Disney short subjects.
These films seem to have little in common, but they are grouped in the Wexner Center for the Arts' Cinema Revival: A Festival of Film Restoration with good reason: The picture and sound of each has been restored to a sterling state.
Some of the films being screened at the festival-held Feb. 25 to March 1-will almost certainly be new to Central Ohio audiences, such as the documentary "Burroughs: The Movie" (Feb. 26) and the silent film "Why Be Good?" (March 1), both of which had been considered lost before they were restored. Others, such as Hitchcock's "Jamaica Inn" (Feb. 26) and Howard Hawks' "Only Angels Have Wings" (Feb. 28), may be familiar, but not in the shipshape restored versions to be screened.
A pass ($35; $30 for members, students and seniors) includes admission to all programming. Except for animator Suzan Pitt's short films, which will be projected from 16 mm and 35 mm prints, the films will be shown in digital versions.
Presentations by Grover Crisp of Sony Pictures and Lee Kline of The Criterion Collection (both Feb. 27), among other speakers, will supplement the screenings. Kline will discuss Criterion's restoration (they collaborated with the L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratory in Bologna, Italy) of Satyajit Ray's "Apu Trilogy," the negatives for which were compromised during a 1993 British film lab fire. "We opened up the can and saw a very, very damaged film-burnt on the ends, leader missing, sprockets gone," Kline says.
Thanks to digital technology, much of the film was rendered usable; the restored "Apu Trilogy" will be shown in theaters in 2015.
"The first reason it was possible is because we could repair the negatives prior to scanning, then the digital tools were needed for everything from stabilization, warping, jumping, dirt, scratching," Kline says.
David Filipi, director of film and video at the Wexner Center, says the presentations by Crisp and Kline are the most important part of the weekend. "I just can't get enough of listening to what these people do to preserve and restore these films," Filipi says. "I think it's just really inspiring, and it makes you just appreciate the films even more when you finally have a chance to see them."