This publication presents the film titles selected for the second edition of A Season of Classic Films. It provides a colourful palette of European cinema history which aims to be a source of inspiration for cinemagoers and film programmers around the world. The films are presented by 22 members of the Association of European Cinematheques (Association des Cinémathèques Européennes – ACE).
The 22 partner institutions selected a total of over 50 short and long-feature films, showcasing distinguished titles and less known treasures. Most of the films are new digital restorations and some screenings include exciting elements such as live performances and experimental electronic music.
The oldest films in the programme include a compilation of George Méliès’ films that cover the period from 1896 and 1912, which will be screened in a series of unique live sessions with the aim to recreate the spectator’s experience of more than hundred years ago. These live performances at La Cinémathèque française in Paris will also be recorded for online streaming worldwide, thanks to the support of A Season of Classic Films.
Contemporary to Méliès, Jan Kříženecký filmed some of the earliest creative film works made in Prague, but he remains mostly unknown to a wide audience. A new restoration of several of his films by the Národní filmový archiv, Prague, offers a window into the early beginnings of Czech cinematography between 1898 and 1911.
Newly-recorded music scores play an important role in increasing access to silent classics. With this in mind, Der Kampf ums Matterhorn (1928) will be accompanied by live electronic music during the screening in DFF – Deutsches Filminstitut & Filmmuseum in Frankfurt, and the Portuguese drama Maria do Mar (1930) will be screened with a live orchestra performance. The music of both films will be recorded and become available for the film distribution with the support of A Season of Classic Films.
While fiction films constitute the majority of the programme, it also includes an eclectic list of documentaries among which Pasolini’s Comizi d’amore (1965). For this documentary, Pasolini travelled through Italy to interview people about various sexual issues, which even if not taboo anymore keep dividing consciences. The new restoration of the film will be presented with a selection of never-before-seen outtakes.
The most recent film in the programme is the political drama Vdekja e kalit (1992), which is regarded as the first feature film produced after the end of Albania’s communist regime and one which questions the country’s former politics. This film is also planned for digital restoration by the Albanian National Film Archive.
The films will be screened between December 2020 and June 2021 in free special events organised by the European cinematheques in 19 countries. Considering that the COVID-19 pandemic means the events will be subject to certain limitations, we are pleased that several institutions also plan streaming events to enable greater access.
A Season of Classic Films aims to foster the exchange of European popular and under-seen films across international cinematheques and festivals, in order to promote our Archives’ stellar collections. The initiative is supported financially by the European Commission. To find out more about A Season of Classic Films and the event dates across Europe, please visit this web page on the ACE website .