Martin Scorsese at Cannes

American director Martin Scorsese, who needs no introduction to film buffs, again spoke up for the quality and value of filmmaking today, announcing the World Cinema Foundation’s latest alliances to the journalists here at Cannes Festival. Highlights follow:

Introducing the Foundation, which he chairs:
We started the World Cinema Foundation to provide assistance to films and filmmakers who needed it, with restoration and the preservation of their work… Film preservation is always an uphill battle. There’s never enough time. Films are delicate, and they’re apt to deteriorate unless they’re stored under optimal conditions. Of course, to make matters more difficult, conditions are different all around the world. Some nations have many mandates to fulfill before they can get to the construction of fully functioning film archives.

The latest partners of the World Cinema Foundation:
We felt it was important to work in conjunction with the filmmakers to find as many ways of raising awareness of these films as possible, and to provide as many public opportunities to see them as we could. That’s why we decided to form a partnership with two young, growing, very dynamic organizations… The Autheurs is what you would call a virtual cinematheque. B-Side is kind of an access provider, a facilitator, to help us build our website, and also to coordinate a network of screenings for these pictures. I’m also happy to say that Criterion has agreed to distribute these titles on DVD in collectors edition boxed sets, and in certain cases, individually. I want to stress that this is with the permission of the filmmakers and the rights holders.

On whether the film industry is at a crisis point:
I’m always a little more on the negative side of things, but there has been a crisis for many years now. And whatever we get to do, with your help, and the help of the people who own the rights to these films, is just maybe scratching the surface, ultimately. A lot will be lost. One has to think of history in the past 3,000 years, how much literature was lost. So whatever we can do now, we’re going to save something.

Scorsese concluded by announcing the The Auteurs, an online cinema, would be showing four rare films restored by the World Cinema Foundation at no cost. The menu includes Dry Summer (Metin Erksan, Turkey, 1964); Touki Bouki (Djibril Diop Mambéty, Senegal, 1973); Transes (Ahamed El Maanouni, Morocco, 1981); and The Housemaid (Ki-young Kim, South Korea, 1960). For further information, go to The Auteurs.

Inaugurated in Cannes in 2007, the World Cinema Foundation is presenting four films in Cannes this year: A Brighter Summer Day (1991) by Edward Yang, Al-Momia (1969) by Shadi Abdel Salam, Redes (1936) by Emilio Gomez Muriel and Behind the Shutters by Stig Björkman.


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