17 restorations comprise the Revivals section of the 60th New York Film Festival (September 30–October 16, 2022), showcasing important works from renowned filmmakers that have been digitally remastered, restored, and preserved with the assistance of generous partners.
Highlights from this year’s slate include No Fear No Die, Claire Denis’s rarely screened second feature, a forceful examination of the lives of immigrants in France and the psychic toll of the violence imposed by colonizers upon the colonized; and Canyon Passage, the first of Jacques Tourneur’s remarkable Westerns and a film that Martin Scorsese called “one of the most mysterious and exquisite examples of the Western genre ever made,” with Scorsese and Steven Spielberg consulting on this restoration.
Additional highlights include four newly restored short and medium-length films by the pioneering queer Black experimental filmmaker Edward Owens: Autre Fois J’ai Aimé Une Femme, Private Imaginings and Narrative Facts, Remembrance: A Portrait Study, and Tomorrow’s Promise; Cauleen Smith’s Drylongso, a landmark in American independent cinema and an enduringly rich work of DIY filmmaking that remains a resonant and visionary examination of violence (and its reverberations), friendship, and gender; a long overdue restoration of Jean Eustache’s The Mother and the Whore, five decades after its scandalous premiere at Cannes, which uses an obsessive, talkative ménage à trois as the jumping-off point for an intense exploration of sexual politics; and Pedro Costa’s first feature, O Sangue, a beguiling fairytale about the trials undergone by two brothers in the wake of their father’s violent death that Costa has noted as “the beginning of [his] love – maybe love is the wrong word – for domestic cinema. A kind of cinema that shows how people live.” Balufu Bakupu-Kanyinda’s Le Damier, a meticulously composed work of political cinema that takes aim at the absurdity of authoritarianism, will screen with Radu Jude’s previously announced short film The Potemkinists (a Currents selection), which revisits the history of the battleship Potemkin through a comic dialogue between a sculptor and a representative from Romania’s Ministry of Culture.
FILMS & DESCRIPTIONS
Beirut the Encounter
Borhane Alaouié, 1981, Lebanon, 97m
Arabic with English subtitles
Set in 1977 during the Lebanese Civil War, Borhane Alaouié’s melancholic, meditative docu-fiction study of longing and life amid conflict begins as the lines of communication between East and West Beirut have been reestablished and two former university friends, a Christian woman (Nadine Acoury) and a Shiite man (Haithem el Amine), reconnect. They make a pact to record their thoughts and feelings to share with each other before the woman departs the next day for the United States, and we follow the two through the everyday system of checkpoints, traffic jams, and moments of tension that define their experience of Beirut. An entrancingly personal and atmospheric film poem about human connection in troubled times, Beirut the Encounter is a too-little-seen masterwork of Lebanese cinema. Beirut the Encounter was restored in 2018 from the original negative by the Royal Film Archive of Belgium – CINEMATEK. The 35mm negative was scanned and digitally restored in 2K. The magnetic soundtrack was also digitized by the Royal Film Archive of Belgium – CINEMATEK.
Black God, White Devil
Glauber Rocha, 1964, Brazil, 120m
Portuguese with English subtitles
A landmark work of militant cinema and a key film of the Cinema Novo movement, the then-25-year-old Glauber Rocha’s second feature begins in the 1940s as a ranch laborer named Manoel (Geraldo Del Ray) finds himself in conflict with his boss, who is trying to stiff him on payment; Manoel kills the boss and heads out on the lam with his wife (Yoná Magalhães). The two become self-styled outlaws and, later, join up with self-appointed saint Antonio das Mortes (Mauricío de Valle), who preaches a gospel of meeting the violence of the world with still more violence. A film at once alluringly mystical and radically political, Black God, White Devil interweaves documentary elements and iconoclastic formal experimentation to yield one of world cinema’s all-time great shots across the bow. New 4K restoration from Metropoles Productions, based on original 35mm materials preserved by the Cinemateca Brasileira. Restoration by CineColor Digital and JLS Studios.
Jacques Tourneur, 1946, U.S., 92m
Ablaze in breathtaking Technicolor, the first of Jacques Tourneur’s remarkable Westerns is a complex, morally ambiguous portrait of an Oregon mining community where the friendship between an enterprising merchant (Dana Andrews) and an avaricious gambler (Brian Donlevy) is tested by romantic rivalry, gold, and greed. An unusually rich, philosophical frontier tale, Canyon Passage conjures a dreamily idyllic vision of the Old West punctuated by sudden, shocking bursts of violence—Tourneurian flashes of a world ruled by chaos and chance. The result is what Martin Scorsese has called “one of the most mysterious and exquisite examples of the Western genre ever made.” Restored by Universal Pictures in collaboration with The Film Foundation. Special thanks to Martin Scorsese and Steven Spielberg for their consultation on this restoration.
A Confucian Confusion
Edward Yang, 1994, Taiwan, 125m
Mandarin Chinese with English subtitles
Edward Yang’s panoramic satire is set in the material world of 1990s Taipei, the skyline choked by smog and lit up by the neon signs of globally branded corporations. With his rapier wit, Yang observes the self-absorption of a gaggle of 20-something urbanites, including “culture company” impresario Molly (Ni Shujun), her wealthy fiancé (who fears Molly may be cheating on him), her talk-show-host sister, and the sister’s estranged husband, a novelist whose latest book imagines a reincarnated Confucius returning—with considerable horror—to a modern society ostensibly built upon his teachings. Though it signaled a shift in tone from his earlier, more dramatic films, the ambitious and incisive A Confucian Confusion finds Yang once again searching for the soul of a country he no longer quite recognizes. New digital restoration by The Taiwan Film and Audiovisual Institute through a grant from Edward Yang’s widow Kaili Peng.
Balufu Bakupu-Kanyinda, 1996, Democratic Republic of Congo, 40m
French with English subtitles
Set in a fictitious African country, Balufu Bakupu-Kanyinda’s medium-length comedy recounts the tale of the country’s president—the founder and “first citizen” of his nation—settling in for an all-night game of checkers with a man who purports to be the grand champion. However, the game soon devolves into a satirical and incisive parable about the brutal confrontation between dictatorship and its political opponents. A meticulously composed work of political cinema, Le Damier takes aim at the absurdity of authoritarianism and doesn’t miss. Restored in 2K in 2021 by NYU Tisch, in association with Villa Albertine – French Embassy in the United States and the Cinémathèque Afrique of the Institut français.
The Potemkinists / Potemkiniștii*
Radu Jude, 2022, Romania, 18m
Romanian and Russian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Radu Jude revisits the history of the battleship Potemkin—the source story for Sergei Eisenstein’s classic 1925 work of Soviet montage—as a comic dialogue between a sculptor and a representative from Romania’s Ministry of Culture about cinema, monument-making, and art’s conflicted role in the continual revisionism of history.
The Day of Despair
Manoel de Oliveira, 1992, Portugal/France, 76m
Portuguese with English subtitles
One of Portugal’s greatest filmmakers portrays one of its greatest writers in this biographical gem, the culmination of the trilogy that Manoel de Oliveira began with Doomed Love (1978) and Francisca (1991). As with Francisca, The Day of Despair finds Oliveira depicting the life of the 19th-century writer Camilo Castelo Branco, here played by Mario Barroso. Drawing from Branco’s correspondence with the writer Ana Plácido, this film follows Branco’s final days, with the great, scandalous author tormented by his own internal tensions as his health takes a dive and the possibility of continuing to write grows ever more remote. Oliveira’s execution of this portrait of an anguished master of letters—marked by gorgeous, enveloping, painterly images—yields an essential tribute. This copy is the result of the 4K digitisation of the original 35mm camera negative and the final sound mix, on magnetic tape, both elements conserved by the Cinemateca Portuguesa. Color grading and digital restoration of the image were made by Cineric Portugal in 2022 using a distribution print as reference.
Cauleen Smith, 1998, U.S., 86m
Cauleen Smith’s 1998 feature debut, a landmark in American independent cinema, follows Pica (Toby Smith), a woman in a photography class in Oakland, as she begins photographing the young black men of her neighborhood, having witnessed so many of them fall victim to senseless murder and fearing the possibility of their becoming extinct altogether. This project serves as a point of departure for Smith to explore Pica’s relationship with her family, as well as her relationship with a friend (April Barnett) who becomes the victim of an enigmatic and elusive serial killer lurking in the background. An enduringly rich work of DIY filmmaking, Drylongso remains a resonant and visionary examination of violence (and its reverberations), friendship, and gender. A Janus Films release. 4K restoration undertaken by The Criterion Collection, Janus Films and The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Supervised by Director Cauleen Smith. The NYFF60 Revivals presentation of Drylongso is sponsored by Turner Classic Movies.
Eight Deadly Shots
Mikko Niskanen, 1972, Finland, 316m
Finnish with English subtitles
Inspired by the events surrounding a 1969 mass shooting in Pihtipudas, Finland, Mikko Niskanen’s riveting four-part mini-series chronicles the plight of a farmer, Pasi (played by Niskanen himself), whose economic hardships lead him to take up moonshining with a friend, effectively causing him to lapse back into despondent alcoholism. As Pasi sinks deeper into poverty and deeper into the bottle, we witness the routines, rituals, and quotidian dramas of his life, captured with a transfixing attentiveness to the passage of time. Hailed as the crowning achievement of Finnish filmmaking by no less an authority than Aki Kaurismaki, this naturalist epic is a triumph of psychological cinema, and a powerfully relevant exploration of economic injustice. A Janus Films release. Restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, Yleisradio Oy, Fiction Finland ry, and Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna at L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. Additional support provided by the Ministry of Culture and Education in Finland, Tiina and Antti Herlin Foundation, and the Jane and Aatos Erkko Foundation.
The Long Farewell
Kira Muratova, 1971, USSR, 97m
Russian with English subtitles
North American Premiere
Completed in 1971 but not released until perestroika in 1987, Kira Muratova’s fourth feature is a majestic psychodrama centering on the relationship between a mother and a son and rendered with a borderline avant-garde sense of aesthetic freedom and formal experimentation. Divorced Evgenia (Zinaida Sharko) has devoted her life to raising her son, Sasha (Oleg Vladimirsky), but their bond is tested when he becomes a teenager and visits his father in far-off Novosibirsk, planting seeds for the young man’s desire to move out from beneath his overbearing mother’s thumb. Muratova transfigures the resulting blow-ups and reconciliations as a kinetic and atmospheric symphony suffused with resentment and love, sensitivity and obliviousness, freedom and duty. A Janus Films release. Restored in 4K by STUDIOCANAL in collaboration with The Criterion Collection at L’Immagine Ritrovata/Éclair Classics.
The Mother and the Whore
Jean Eustache, 1973, France, 210m
French with English subtitles
North American Premiere
At long last presented in a striking new restoration worthy of the film’s reputation, 50 years after its scandalous premiere at Cannes, Jean Eustache’s hard-to-see masterpiece uses an obsessive, talkative ménage à trois—Jean-Pierre Léaud, Bernadette Lafont, and Françoise Lebrun—as the jumping-off point for an intense exploration of sexual politics among liberated yet alienated moderns. The Mother and the Whore abounds with references and allusions to 15 years of New Wave images and language while also documenting the mix of strategies and fictions that lovers and other strangers use to make contact and to armor themselves. Léaud, Lafont, and Lebrun, the basis of the film, portray its unforgettable characters with an absolute intensity and a mesmerizing, endlessly rich sense of humanity. A Janus Films release. The Mother and the Whore has been restored and remastered in 4K in 2022 by Les Films du Losange with the support of CNC and the participation of La Cinémathèque suisse and of Chanel. Image restoration by L’Immagine Ritrovata/Éclair Classics, supervised by Jacques Besse and Boris Eustache. Sound restoration by Léon Rousseau-L.E. Diapason.
No Fear No Die
Claire Denis, 1990, France, 90m
French with English subtitles
Claire Denis’s rarely screened second feature is a radically physical cinematic journey into the shadowy (under)world of illegal cockfighting. Isaach De Bankole and Alex Descas star as Dah and Jocelyn, two immigrants (from Benin and French Antilles, respectively) living on the outskirts of Paris who earn money from cockfights. The escalating violence of the bouts—at the encouragement of the white owner of the restaurant (Jean-Claude Brialy) in whose basement the fights are held—takes its toll on the pair, and Jocelyn dreams of a life outside the brutal environment of feathered pugilism. Drawing inspiration from the writings of Frantz Fanon, the ruggedly unsentimental and psychologically evocative No Fear No Die is a forceful examination of the lives of immigrants in France and of the psychic toll of the violence imposed by colonizers upon the colonized. A Film Desk Release. Restored in 4K by Pathé in 2022 with the help of the French National Center of Film and Motions Pictures (CNC) at Hiventy Laboratory. Special thanks to Claire Denis, Agnès Godard, and Pascal Marti for their collaboration.
Pedro Costa, 1989, Portugal, 95m
Portuguese with English subtitles
Admirers of Pedro Costa’s more recent work are often thrown for a thrilling loop by the glossy, liquid textures and lush atmospherics of the director’s first feature, a beguiling fairytale about the trials undergone by two brothers in the wake of their father’s violent death. Costa, who was barely 30 when O Sangue premiered, had spent the seven years leading up to its production immersing himself in the films of Fritz Lang, Kenji Mizoguchi, Robert Bresson, Jacques Tourneur, and Nicholas Ray. But the film, which begins with a slap to the face, is never less than a bracingly original stream of images and impressions: a nocturnal journey through a brittle forest; a burst of fireworks seen from the balcony of a ghostly hotel; a glittering fairground dream scored to a rhapsodic pop song. “O Sangue,” Costa said in a 2006 interview, “was also the beginning of my love—maybe love is the wrong word—for domestic cinema. A kind of cinema that shows how people live.” This DCP results from a digitization of the original 35mm camera negative and from original 35mm monaural magnetic and optical sound elements preserved at Cinemateca Portuguesa, Museu do Cinema / ANIM. Negative 4K scan on wet gate Oxberry-Cineric scanner and audio recording supervised by Franco Bosco at ANIM. Digital grading and image restoration supervised by Carlos Almeida at IrmaLucia Efeitos Especiais, Lisbon. Colorist: Gonçalo Ferreira. Image Restoration: André Constantino, Ana Cunha. Uncompressed monaural soundtrack supervised by Hugo Leitão at Estúdio Espreita o Som, Lisbon. Image and sound restorations approved by the director, October 2021–February 2022. Special thanks to José Manuel Costa, Rui Machado – Cinemateca Portuguesa, Museu do Cinema / ANIM and Clarão Companhia Prod.
Four Films by Edward Owens
Autre Fois J’ai Aimé Une Femme, 1966, U.S., 16mm, 24m
Private Imaginings and Narrative Facts, 1967, U.S., 16mm, 6m
Tomorrow’s Promise, 1967, U.S., 16mm, 45m
Remembrance: A Portrait Study, 1968–70, U.S., 16mm, 6m
This program collects four newly restored short and medium-length films by the pioneering queer Black experimental filmmaker Edward Owens. A student of Gregory Markopoulos, Owens combined the strikingly staged, dramatically lit compositions of Markopoulos’s work with image-layering and superimpositions of pop cultural iconography to arrive at a singularly entrancing evocation of people and places. Private Imaginings and Narrative Facts pursues a dialectic of visual spaces and of stillness and motion. Autre Fois J’ai Aimé Une Femme conjures illicit desire on the surface of the skin, in the sound of a ferocious row, in magazine clippings, and in classical paintings. Tomorrow’s Promise focuses on the body by way of starkly lit portraits to meditate upon the tension between presence and absence, before shifting to zero in on the figure of a pensive bride. And Remembrance: A Portrait Study is an ode to Owens’s mother and her friends, adorned with the sounds of Marilyn Monroe singing “Running Wild” and Dusty Springfield’s “All Cried Out.” Restored by Chicago Film Society, The New American Cinema Group, Inc./The Film-Makers’ Cooperative, and the John M. Flaxman Library at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago with the support of the National Film Preservation Foundation’s Avant-Garde Masters Grant Program and the Film Foundation. Funding provided by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation.
The Passion of Remembrance
Maureen Blackwood and Isaac Julien, 1986, UK, 82m
A landmark work in British avant-garde film and video, the Sankofa collective’s greatly influential first film, The Passion of Remembrance, ambitiously explores themes of racism, homophobia, sexism, and generational tensions as embodied in the reality known by a Black British family over the years. Interweaving two narrative threads—one in which a man and a woman discourse on their own experiences living in the UK, another in which events from three decades in the lives of the Baptiste family are staged—Maureen Blackwood and Isaac Julien tease the accumulated fragments into a spellbinding, heterogeneous mosaic that powerfully evokes the multiplicity of Black experience and identity and critiques the British state’s treatment of its marginalized residents. This 4K remaster by the BFI National Archive, undertaken in collaboration with the directors and cinematographer Nina Kellgren, is based on the original 16mm negative and magnetic soundtrack final mix. It screens in a simultaneous transatlantic premiere with the BFI London Film Festival.