Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#301 Post by therewillbeblus » Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:05 pm

tenia wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 3:50 pm
Big Ben wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:05 pm
Incredible to think about the possibility that a five and a half hour silent film might come to Netflix.
Actually, this restoration should be, IIRC, 7hrs long.
So would that mean that the terrific BFI blu would be antiquated?

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Big Ben
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#302 Post by Big Ben » Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:07 pm

Not only that but it would mean that all that effort would go into a restoration with money from a US company and it wouldn't even be able to be shown here.

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Ribs
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#303 Post by Ribs » Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:23 pm

That’s not really an accurate way of putting it - Netflix France has its own production budget and stuff its supposed to use for its own territory, and the goal isn’t just to get things they can get world rights for.

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tenia
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#304 Post by tenia » Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:56 pm

Netflix now are legally compelled to invest into French prods or restorations. However, the Napoleon restoration has been a work in progress for years so god knows how much work remains and thus what will be exactly Netflix' part within the money it required.

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The Pachyderminator
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#305 Post by The Pachyderminator » Fri Jan 15, 2021 2:26 am

Won't the film be in the US public domain starting in 2023, meaning Coppola's rights will no longer be an issue? That's not that long in the grand scheme of things, especially since this film restoration project has been going on for so many years anyway.

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MichaelB
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#306 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jan 15, 2021 5:29 am

The Pachyderminator wrote:Won't the film be in the US public domain starting in 2023, meaning Coppola's rights will no longer be an issue? That's not that long in the grand scheme of things, especially since this film restoration project has been going on for so many years anyway.
Not in Europe, where Gance’s copyright expires on January 1st 2051.

And this is a European restoration project concerning a European film.

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knives
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#307 Post by knives » Fri Jan 15, 2021 7:23 am

Right, but he’s talking Coppola’s ability to block a US release where US copyright would have an effect.

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The Pachyderminator
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#308 Post by The Pachyderminator » Fri Jan 15, 2021 11:46 am

Yes, I was responding to the discussion a few posts up about the possibility of a U.S. release. I expect Netflix wouldn't turn down the opportunity for an American release if one presented itself, even though the project is French.

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Ribs
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#309 Post by Ribs » Fri Jan 15, 2021 12:51 pm

But surely if the restoration is derivative of elements in countries that it is not in public domain that means it doesn't magically become public domain everywhere else? It should retain whatever ownership the materials they are using have. Am I wrong?

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knives
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#310 Post by knives » Fri Jan 15, 2021 1:00 pm

The restoration does become copyrighted, but if someone wanted to put out a non-copyrighted copy on DVD they could.

Stefan Andersson
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#311 Post by Stefan Andersson » Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:35 am

tenia wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 5:56 pm
Netflix now are legally compelled to invest into French prods or restorations. However, the Napoleon restoration has been a work in progress for years so god knows how much work remains and thus what will be exactly Netflix' part within the money it required.
-This Napoleon restoration is announced for the end of 2021
-Two million euros are needed to complete the restoration
-No exact info on Netflix´s investment
-Netflix has a two-year partnership with the Cinematheque Francaise
-As yet no deal re: showing the film on Netflix

Source: https://next.liberation.fr/culture/2021 ... re_1817285

-As of May 2019, 90 minutes of the film had been restored
-Running time 6 hours 30 mins, including 30 minutes of triptych scenes; material from 20 different sources
Source: https://www.hiventy.com/wp-content/uplo ... 019_v2.pdf - p. 3

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yoloswegmaster
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#312 Post by yoloswegmaster » Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:41 am

Stefan Andersson wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 8:35 am


-This Napoleon restoration is announced for the end of 2021
I thought they said they were going to try and finish the restoration by May?

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tenia
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#313 Post by tenia » Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:10 am

Thanks a lot for this source, Stefan Andersson, it helps framing a bit more clearly what is already done and what is still left to be performed.

Stefan Andersson
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#314 Post by Stefan Andersson » Mon Jan 18, 2021 2:29 pm

tenia wrote:
Mon Jan 18, 2021 9:10 am
Thanks a lot for this source, Stefan Andersson, it helps framing a bit more clearly what is already done and what is still left to be performed.
You are welcome tenia, glad you liked it!

On a technical note, the scanning is done with "un appareil récent capable de scanner "en immersion", en conservant toutes les informations bord à bord dans les manchettes : le Nitroscan, spécialement conçu par les laboratoires Eclair."

Source: https://www.franceculture.fr/cinema/abe ... -restaures - also contains short info about differences between the Shadows of the Convention scene in the Apollo and Opéra versions.

Here is a list of some other good sources, including several video lectures by film restorer Georges Mourier. Most lectures are in unsubtitled French, except one in English (Mourier speaks excellent English):
https://www.cinematheque.fr/recherche.html?t=mourier

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tenia
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#315 Post by tenia » Tue Jan 19, 2021 4:15 am

Yes, Eclair have their "Nitro Scan" in place since 2011, it's basically a wet-gate scanner but that can handle formats from 7mm to 70mm including some without perforrations, with the specific idea to be able to handle nitrate negatives (hence its name). It was developped by Neyrac Films.

Stefan Andersson
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#316 Post by Stefan Andersson » Tue Jan 19, 2021 4:59 am

tenia wrote:
Tue Jan 19, 2021 4:15 am
Yes, Eclair have their "Nitro Scan" in place since 2011, it's basically a wet-gate scanner but that can handle formats from 7mm to 70mm including some without perforrations, with the specific idea to be able to handle nitrate negatives (hence its name). It was developped by Neyrac Films.
Thank you very much, tenia, for this description! Very interesting!

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TMDaines
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#317 Post by TMDaines » Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:13 am

therewillbeblus wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:05 pm
tenia wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 3:50 pm
Big Ben wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 2:05 pm
Incredible to think about the possibility that a five and a half hour silent film might come to Netflix.
Actually, this restoration should be, IIRC, 7hrs long.
So would that mean that the terrific BFI blu would be antiquated?
The BFI blu-ray has English intertitles, so it has always just sat on my shelf unwatched, hoping that an original language version will come around soon.

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tenia
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#318 Post by tenia » Tue Jan 19, 2021 6:46 am

The Bronlow restoration is also said to be sourced from elements that actually belong to different versions of the movie. Not only it will be a longer cut, but the new restoration should restore the Apollo version without mixing up elements belonging to different cuts.

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Number Forty-Eight
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#319 Post by Number Forty-Eight » Mon Feb 01, 2021 7:28 am

All of this begs the question: why isn’t the CF restoring the 4-hour Opera version? Not only would it be much easier to fit onto screening schedules (either as a live performance or as a special digital screening in regular cinemas), it would boast both of the film’s triptychs (presumably the most marketable aspect of the film). Restoring the Opera version first and getting it released would at least get the film seen by a large number of audiences. Afterwards, the longer Apollo version could receive a DVD/Blu-ray release and give the public the “definitive” film. Though I consider NAPOLEON can only be fully understood as a work of art when shown in the longest possible edition, I accept that it is extremely unlikely to be shown as a 6h30m whole in cinemas under anything other than exceptional circumstances – particularly if the CF ends up finding any more material.
Hi, I was lucky to be shown in private excerpts from both versions, as well as clips of the final restoration of the Apollo edit, which is going to blow everybody away.

There was no point in restoring the Opera version and show it in advance of the final restoration of the Apollo version, because the Opera version is not as accomplished as the Apollo one, and also it would feel somehow incomplete to anyone who has seen the other restorations mixing both negatives. Once you will see the Apollo version, the Opera one will look like an early cut of the film that best will be regarded as an extra.

This is not about the longer running time. This is about the work that was put in to finish the film by Gance. If the Apollo was shorter than the Opera, it would still be the superior version.

The Apollo version is a huge undertaking, and is the most interesting visually of both versions, in terms of editing, framing etc. The Opera version has a print in the archives that is in great state, so to preserve it will probably be a breeze, compared to the Apollo where they have to reinstate missing frames from different sources and make them seamless, sometimes reconstruct missing sides on cropped shots from different sources etc. The work they are doing is huge. No one but Mourier and his crew would have been able to lead such intensive workload and solve the many problems involved.

To find out that there were two negatives was the stroke of genius that will finally restore the film to it's greatness after decades of modified cuts.

After being shown some clips from the Apollo, I went home and put the BFI disc on the same sequences, and it was plain to me that the scenes in this version were edited together from two different versions of the film, resulting in hacked feel whereas the Apollo scenes feels complete. As Mourier says, not the restorers/editors fault. They didn't know.

Regarding the showings, these olds films weren't shown continuisly back then, they were shown over different screenings. That's why they are cut by episodes. So it probably will be possible to see the full Apollo version over a matinee, afternoon and night showings, I'm sure cinemas will be creative with this once they reopen and once the version is out!
In 2015, the CF is saying that they are restoring the Apollo version but with the final triptych. I can only imagine this is because if they aren’t restoring the Opera version at all they want to salvage the film’s most famous feature. What will this do to their mission statement of “authenticity”?


Although the tryptich was not part of the longer 9h+ edit originaly shown to the press and distributors at the Apollo, it was included in the final shorter 6h30 version once Gance completed his edit. So the Apollo will not be the early longer 9h+ press screening cut, but the finished version of this cut.

It's important to regard each of Mourier conference in context, and each discovery makes one question anything that would be regarded as evident earlier. So when he makes new statements, it's always in a new context with new information discovered.

What's really interesting about this marathon restoration is that for the first time ever, we will be able to see first the finished version by Gance in the momentum of making the film (ie not when he started to rip his film apart and destroy it), the version that got the film it's reputation.

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filmyfan
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#320 Post by filmyfan » Sat Feb 06, 2021 9:35 am

Anyone with better knowledge than me know whether I can donate to Cinematheque Francaise - and specifically the Napoleon project?

I have their email - so I could just contact them.

Stefan Andersson
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#321 Post by Stefan Andersson » Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:33 am

News story in French on the restoration (subscription needed for access):
https://www.lepoint.fr/culture/cinema-d ... 3886_3.php

EDIT:
Just managed to read the above article, courtesy of my local library´s read-online service. I gleaned the following:

-the restored version will be finished in November or December, 2021 according to film restorer Georges Mourier

-cost: almost three million euros

-no deal as yet for a Netflix showing

- restoration work is being done in the fort at Saint-Cyr (Yvelines); around 20 people, including Eclair technicians, are involved

-22 different edits of the film are/have been in circulation worldwide

-in 1948, Gance donated 40 boxes of incomplete film negative, from the Apollo and Opéra versions, to Henri Langlois

-the Cinematheque Francaise put in order, between 2002 and 2010, the many documents in Gance´s archive, not available to previous restorers of the film

-Mourier has collaborated with cinémathèques in New York, Copenhagen, Brussels, Toulouse, Ajaccio, Belgrade (all have material on the film)

-previous restorations have used materials from various film prints to recreate the Apollo version, originally 9,5 hours long, shown in May 1927 to film distributors and the press. No restoration of this version conforms to the original. But Mourier has found, in the Gance archives, the script notes for the Apollo version, edited in 1969 by Marie Epstein and based on an original 1927 document.

-there was also the Opéra version, around 4 hours, and the official release version of November 1927, approx. seven hours

-8 000 pages of documents and 100 000 metres of 35mm film are being used for the restoration in 4K

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Number Forty-Eight
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#322 Post by Number Forty-Eight » Sat Feb 20, 2021 9:49 am

Impressive isn't it? :) A friend wrote this feature. However there are some confusions, previous restorations didn't try to create the Apollo version as no one remembered or knew then that the Apollo edit existed. They were just editing together in the dark from two different sources (the Opera and the Apollo), trying to rebuild a longer "integral" cut as in any restoration, with no knowledge that there was two different negatives.

So in essence, they are restorers edits. A bit like fan edits, but official.

The Apollo that we will hopefully see this year or next year, will be the first time since the 1920's screenings, that we see Abel Gance's actual final edit.

That is what is completely awesome about this restoration.

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MichaelB
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#323 Post by MichaelB » Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:13 am

therewillbeblus wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:05 pm
So would that mean that the terrific BFI blu would be antiquated?
Not at all, because the Kevin Brownlow restoration with the Carl Davis score is an incredibly important part of film history - and for Britons like me, it was the definitive version for forty years. So much so that I'm awaiting this new version with some trepidation because I'm so familiar with the Davis score that I'm not at all sure whether I'll take to another one. (This was one of the things that torpedoed the Carmine Coppola version for me, aside from it being the wrong framerate.)

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therewillbeblus
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#324 Post by therewillbeblus » Sat Feb 20, 2021 1:46 pm

Thanks Michael, I hadn’t even considered the score but you’re right, that’s more than enough of a reason to clutch it dearly

Orlac
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#325 Post by Orlac » Sat Feb 20, 2021 4:17 pm

MichaelB wrote:
Sat Feb 20, 2021 11:13 am
therewillbeblus wrote:
Thu Jan 14, 2021 4:05 pm
So would that mean that the terrific BFI blu would be antiquated?
Not at all, because the Kevin Brownlow restoration with the Carl Davis score is an incredibly important part of film history - and for Britons like me, it was the definitive version for forty years. So much so that I'm awaiting this new version with some trepidation because I'm so familiar with the Davis score that I'm not at all sure whether I'll take to another one. (This was one of the things that torpedoed the Carmine Coppola version for me, aside from it being the wrong framerate.)
Davis's score for the bizarre reissue of Phantom of the Opera (an odd mixed bag of 1925 and 1929 footage) is so amazing that if they ever do a proper restoration of the 1925 version, I hope his score can be incorporated.

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