Michael Kerpan wrote:
I'm more interested in knowing when and how the Page of Madness score is going to be used.
Restoration please, and dvd.
Page of Madness has no need of "restoration". The best print source available (based on Kinugasa's negative -- stored for decades at the bottom of a rice bin) looks quite gorgeous.
Well there's a point of view-- that's a rather muscular statement to make regardless of the quality of the print. (And how did you view the print? And what's up with the "
, as if you were responding a la Page of Madness has no need of "touchups with watery dog wee"
Restoration operates in a wide swath of degree. What looks good can always look better when dealing with material like this. Even camera negs from the silent and early sound era with little to no no nitrate decomp or tears benefit from restoration-- that is, careful examination of the source, careful bath processing to remove inevitable dirt and hairs, etc and printing to safety stock... if the original elements are telecine-able, wate-gate transfer to digital to fill unavoidable scratches in the emulsion, stabilizing contrast flickering and black/greyscale, due to the unforgiving years in telecine color correction, etc. As in even far more recent "pristine" camera neg elements of classics like Il Posto or La Grande Illusion, wetgating and color correction always go a long way to restoring a film to it's original release quality. There is simply no way that an 82 year old film's single extant element is in 100% premiere condition... particularly a Japanese film
How do you, if the source print is pristine, account for the abhorrent quality of the dvd-r rips floating thru back channels. I've seen Grapevine Video vhs's of German & Italian silent films of badly deteriorated source elements that look better than the Kinagusa.
(as a matter of fact, to prove my point, a quick bit of web research revealed the following from the Jigsaw Lounge
review of the film after viewing it 7 months ago at the Motovun Film Festival, July 24th 2007, in Croatia:
A Page of Madness retains the power to knocks the viewer over, using every technique known to filmmakers of the time, placed at the service of a radically subverted and startlingly innovate narrative development.
As 99% of the 1920's Japanese films were lost, first in the 1923 earthquake which destroyed the Nikkatsu depot in Tokyo, and then later during the Pacific War, A Page Of Madness was an exception because the director kept both the positive and the negative in his house (the film never having been a studio product.) Kinugasa originally thought his film had also been lost, until he stumbled upon it in 1971 in his garden shed.
It has since been restored twice, and the last restoration took place this year. Motovun audiences had the wonderful opportunity to see this latest version "the way it should be seen"- with the accompaniment of the silent film narrator - a role properly known as the benshi - Kataoka Ichiri, of Matsuda Film Production, a company which specialises in archiving and screening Japanese silent features. Alongside with the benshi, German silent-film pianist and composer Gerhard Gruber provided the musical accompaniment for the film.
So the film has been "restored" not once but twice, and so should be quite suitable for dvd release, which I'm sure we're all aching for.