I was unable to attend this year’s Ritrovato; a pity as the programming is often a preview of films that subsequently screen elsewhere and inevitably become highlights of the year. Luckily, Richard was there to report on what he saw he saw.
In the podcast, we discuss the following sections of the festival:The Time Machine: 1923, where films from a century ago get highlighted; The Space Machine section, particularly the Cinema Libero selections, of which Richard was able to see every feature film. We discuss the New Film Foundation Restorations, of which Richard highlights BUSHMAN ( David Schickele, 1981) and TIME OF THE HEATHEN(Peter Kass, 1961) . BUSHMAN will be shown at Bristol’s Cinema Rediscovered this year. Richard also highlights two Iranian films by Bharam Beyzaie, director of DOWNPOUR Like with CHESS IN THE WIND, programmer Ehsan Khoshbakht describes THE STRANGER AND THE FOG and THE BALLAD OF TARA as a holy grail of Iranian Cinema, pre-revolutionary films thought lost and now restored.
Richard touches on some of the restorations he saw: MAN’S CASTLE (Frank Borzage), A BULLET FOR THE GENERAL, CROSS OF IRON, CRY THE BELOVED COUNTRY (Zoltan Korda); MARRIAGE CIRCLE and LADY WINDERMERE’S FAN, the latter with a score by Timothy Brock and shown with a full orchestra; Stella Dallas, with Stephen Horne’s orchestral score and an equally wonderful orchestra.
We discuss the Anna Magnani section; the Rouben Mamoulian section, which Richard views as an opportunity to see the films at their best rather than any revelations; The Michael Powell section, mostly Powell without Pressburger. Powell himself said he didn’t think his reputation would survive many more discoveries of his quota quickies. Has it?
We also discuss being at the festival this year: The pros and cons of seeing films on the Square; the system of advance bookings; the faults and virtues of the introductions; and whether Ritrovato should continue the digital programming it began during COVID.
The overall assessment is that it was a wonderful festival; that the catalogue itself is a tremendous work of scholarship and should be acknowledged as such; and I look forward to once more be present at it next year,
The podcast may be listened to here:
The podcast can also be listened to on Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/show/2zWZ7Egdy6xPCwHPHlOOaT