Understanding the 'reconstructed' "Metropolis"

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Big Silent Fan

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Understanding the 'reconstructed' "Metropolis"

PostSun Dec 03, 2017 10:26 am

Now that I connect to YouTube using my Blu-ray player, I'm always surprised by selections I find turning it on. Apparently, YouTube makes suggestions based on what I've recently watched.
I viewed the latest offering for "Metropolis" last week and today, up pops "The Making of Metropolis (1927) Fritz Lang_Eng Subs," a six part summary of the international work done to restore the film in 2001 and then the efforts done to reconstruct the newly discovered, but very damaged, missing pieces from a 16mm print in Argentina. This documentary has been available for years but I never knew about it.
https://search.aol.com/aol/video?q=the+ ... -searchbox" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank" target="_blank

In the hour long documentary, beginning in part 3, film restorer Martin Koerber discussed the difficulties of doing the original restoration and how they discovered prints available from more than one original camera view and also repeated takes, where, while the same scene, many things in the image were different.
Finally, Koerber talks about the difficulty of going back again and including previously missing scenes, since the discovered film was badly damaged; a bigger problem than the different aspect of 16mm. Koerber reveals that those in charge of the reconstruction perhaps made the fatal mistake of copying the film as is, without first attempting to clean up the 16mm print. From his comment at the end of the six part series.

"When the film was copied, all the damage and the stains were copied as well and are now part of the image. Restoration in the sense of physical treatment is no longer possible because everything has been photographed. All the scratches, stains and oil stains and so forth are now part of the image and cannot be separated from it.
Digital enhancement of the images is the only possibility (which has been done). But as the images used are so badly damaged, compared to what they should look like, there are limits to what can be achieved by digitally enhancing the images...
We had to find a compromise and leave some of the damage intact which documents the story of what happened to the film in every image. With that in mind, it is OK for it to be seen."
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andybenz

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Re: Understanding the 'reconstructed' "Metropolis"

PostSun Dec 03, 2017 3:20 pm

Big Silent Fan wrote:Koerber reveals that those in charge of the reconstruction perhaps made the fatal mistake of copying the film as is, without first attempting to clean up the 16mm print.


This wasn't the fault of the people doing the reconstruction. The Argentinian 35mm nitrate print (which no longer exists) had been copied (in the 1970s?) to 16mm safety film without any wet gate etc. so all the damage from the original 35mm print is also in the 16mm negative made from this print. To the best of my knowledge the 16mm print/negative is in good physical condition, the visible damage is all printed in.
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Javier

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Re: Understanding the 'reconstructed' "Metropolis"

PostSun Dec 03, 2017 9:42 pm

And... we get to see more of Fritz Rasp, one of my all-time favourite Actors. Faults and all on the 16 millimeters discovery.
It's all good from here to my front porch.
"it's a Kafka high, you feel like a bug"
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radiotelefonia

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Re: Understanding the 'reconstructed' "Metropolis"

PostMon Dec 04, 2017 1:10 am

Javier wrote:And... we get to see more of Fritz Rasp, one of my all-time favourite Actors. Faults and all on the 16 millimeters discovery.
It's all good from here to my front porch.


I would have prefer that instead of the unnecessary translation of the German titles to English (subtitles are more than enough) that they should had retained Leopoldo Torres Ríos original translation to Spanish.

The important thing are the other films that were restored in compensation.

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