On July 24th, Jeanne Pommeau from Národní filmový archiv took the stage at the Auditorium DAMS Lab to present the restoration work on “I Raggi Z” by Eleuterio Rodolfi (1917). The analog restoration was curated by Cineteca di Bologna, Museo Nazionale del Cinema and Národní filmový archiv (NFA). As Mariann Lewinsky explains in the Film Notes available on Il Cinema Ritrovato website, the film has had a very charming gradual rediscovery. At first a 15-minute framgment surfaced in the early 1990 at the CNC in Paris, but then it was identified as another film by the same director. After other discoveries, il Cinema Ritrovato screened a 30 minute long version of the film at the 2009 edition. This gave the idea of the storyline and helped in identifying I raggi Z, a 1917 Ambrosio production. The present version is still complete, but contains an additional 200m and an opening scene that the previous one didn’t have.
The restoration has been carried out with a photochemical process, starting from a positive nitrate with German subtitles that was in the Prague’s archive. Thanks to the L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, the nitrate copy made a negative countertype and two B&W positive copies possible. The nitrate print was in very bad shape and Jeanne Pommeau explained that it is important to show the physical restoration work and not just the digital. Národní filmový archiv continued the work (with Colorspace in Lysá nad Labem) by curating the print and especially the colors with a method that doesn’t require cutting the film.
Jeanne Pommeau highlighted how difficult the circulation for analog film is, especially during these times. The print has to be physically present for the screening to happen and the projector has to ensure the best possible quality. The only issue they are worried about is the possible degradation of the film nitrate, but they are doing their best to preserve it.