A presentation concerning the recently published Italian translation of Giovanna Fossati’sFrom Grain to Pixel: The Archival Life of Film in Transition (Dai grani ai pixel. Il Restauro del film nella transizione dall’analogico al digitale- Casa Editrice Persiani) took place on Monday, July 26th as part of a series of talks from DAMSLab and the Department of Arts at the University of Bologna
The new edition widens access and provides updated research developments following the original 2009 publication and significant, expanded second and third editions in 2011 and 2018 from Amsterdam University Press. New research projects featured in the volume include Beyond the Rocks (Sam Wood, 1922, with Gloria Swanson and Rudolph Valentino), Doctor Strangelove (Stanley Kubrick, 1964), and We Can’t Go Home Again (Nicholas Ray, 1973.)
On Friday the 23rd, editor Camille Blot-Wellens and executive publisher Christophe Dupin delivered a presentation at Il Cinema Ritrovato on the newly expanded edition of Harold Brown’s Physical Characteristics of Early Films as Aids to Identification, following its publication in November of 2020.
The project, which was first proposed by Blot-Wellens in 2014, remains true in content and spirit to Harold Brown’s original edition, published by FIAF in 1990. In addition to preserving and clarifying his work with the integration of more than 900 images into the body of the text, and the inclusion of updated information in footnotes and a comprehensive index, the second section of the new edition is comprised of additional research, with a wealth of contributions from archivists specialising in film-identification.
A particularly valuable feature of the expanded text concerns the dating of film from specific production companies: Blot-Wellens and collaborators from a range of archives and cinematheques provide critical findings which enable the precise identification of film stock from AGFA, Pathé, Fuji, and other production companies by year.
Dupin began with a tribute to Brown, sharing details from his extraordinary life as a pioneer in archival preservation and film identification with attendees at Auditorium DAMS lab. From his post as an office boy at the BFI at just 15 years old, Brown would go on to be at the forefront of the creation of scientific film identification methods, a key player in FIAF’s Technical and Preservation Commissions, and an active educator, continuing to teach and publish even after his retirement. The expanded work is an extension of this remarkable legacy.
Additional remarks were made by Martin Koerber, head archivist at the Deutsche Kinemathek and author of the volume’s foreword, as well as Peter Bagrov of the Eastman Museum, whose essay, ‘Preliminary Notes on Soviet Nitrate Film Stock and Other Aids to Identification of Russian and Soviet Films,’ is included in the new edition.
Harold Brown’s Physical Characteristics of Early Films as Aids to Identification is available for online order throughFIAF and North American distributor Indiana University Press, as well as for purchase at the festival book fair in Bologna.
Stéphanie Louis’ book, La cinématheque musée, une innovation cinéphile au coeur de la patrimonialisation du cinema en France, published in March of 2020, spans from the early days of the Cinémathèque Française in the wake of the Second World War to the late 1960s. Chronicling the advent of both mainstream and specialist interest in cinephile heritage over the greater part of three decades, this essential work explores the manner in which the origins of cinematographic museums and institutions transformed the experience of and around film viewership in France, as well as the role of film heritage in the fabric of contemporary French cultural identity.
As part of a new project from the ACE in the promotion of new and significant publications in the field of cinema scholarship, Anna Fiaccarini of Il Cineteca di Bologna spoke with Stéphanie Louis on Monday, the 19th of July about her research. ‘The effect of showing, in this historic work of research, the development of cinematheques everywhere, but in France, clearly, and the prime example of the Cinématheque Française, is how these developments had a strong influence on the practice of cinephilia,’ Fiaccarini said, urging archivists, scholars, and institutions to include the volume in their collections. ‘I have also borrowed the words of Donata Pesenti Campagnoni, who wrote a very nice presentation on Stéphanie’s volume in The Journal of Film Preservation (this summary and additional materials on the text can be accessed on the Association française de recherche sur l’histoire du cinéma’s website) in October of 2020. It is very interesting, because like Donata said here, we really come to understand how we have arrived at this world of cinematheques today, and why we watch and re-watch heritage films.’