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Our 18th edition of To Save and Project features more than 60 newly preserved features and shorts from 19 countries, many having world or North American premieres and presented in original versions not seen since their initial theatrical releases. Recent MoMA restorations in this year’s festival include the world premieres of Buster Keaton and Donald Crisp’s The Navigator (1924), restored by MoMA and Lobster Films with newly reconstructed tinting and an original score by Antonio Coppola; Beth B and Scott B’s The Offenders (1980); Liza Béar’s Force of Circumstance (1990); and the North American premiere restoration of the full-length version of Robert Frank’s Me and My Brother (1965–68).
To Save and Project is framed by two major rediscoveries. The festival opens on January 13 with the New York premiere restoration of Haile Gerima’s documentary Wilmington 10 – USA 10,000 (1979), featuring an onstage post-screening discussion between Haile Gerima and Reverend Dr. Benjamin F. Chavis Jr., who led a boycott in Wilmington after the closure of a Black high school and who received the severest sentence of the so-called Wilmington 10. The festival concludes with the North American premiere theatrical run (February 4–10) of Valerio Zurlini’s La prima notte di quiete (Indian Summer) (1972)—an austere, tragic romance starring Alain Delon as a failed poet—in its original, uncut Italian version.
World premiere restoration highlights also include Erich von Stroheim’s Blind Husbands (1919) in its nearly complete 1919 release version; William Nigh’s The Fire Brigade (1926), a forgotten gem of two-color Technicolor and Handschiegl spot coloring not seen since its theatrical release nearly 100 years ago; the Clara Bow rediscovery The Primrose Path (1925), also unseen in nearly a century; the roadshow version of MGM’s Cinerama spectacular The Wonderful World of the Brothers Grimm (1962); and Judit Elek’s The Lady from Constantinople (1969). Also featured in North American restoration premieres are Julian Duvivier’s The Mystery of the Eiffel Tower (1927) and The Divine Voyage (1929); Jean Renoir’s The Lower Depths (1936), adapted from the Maxim Gorky play; Mitchell Leisen’s Frenchman’s Creek (1944); Peter Lorre’s The Lost One (1951), accompanied by Harun Farocki’s film essay Peter Lorre: The Double Face (1984); James Blue’s The Olive Trees of Justice (1962); Carol Reed’s blockbuster musical Oliver! (1968); Orson Welles’s F for Fake (1973); South Korean genre filmmaker Lee Man-hee’s posthumously completed The Road to Sampo (1975); and Walter Saxer’s long-forgotten documentary about an open-air prison in the Amazon, Sepa, Nuestro Señor de los Milagros (1987), cowritten by the Peruvian Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa.
Organized by Joshua Siegel, Curator, Department of Film, and Cynthia Rowell, independent consultant.