Friday, July 15, 2011

Silent Film Festival to present "Napoleon"

SAN FRANCISCO SILENT FILM FESTIVAL TO PRESENT ABEL GANCE’S LEGENDARY MASTERPIECE NAPOLEON AT OAKLAND PARAMOUNT,
MARCH 24, 25, 31 & APRIL 1

U.S. PREMIERE OF COMPLETE RESTORATION BY ACADEMY AWARD®-WINNER KEVIN BROWNLOW & BFI

U.S. PREMIERE OF ORCHESTRAL SCORE BY CARL DAVIS, WHO WILL CONDUCT THE OAKLAND EAST BAY SYMPHONY

(July 14, 2011—Bastille Day) The San Francisco Silent Film Festival announces today that it will present the U.S. premiere of Abel Gance’s legendary NAPOLEON in its complete restoration by Academy Award®-winning historian, documentarian and archivist Kevin Brownlow, in four special screenings at Oakland’s Paramount Theatre on March 24, 25, 31 and April 1, 2012.

Albert Dieudonné as Napoleon
The Brownlow restoration, produced with his partner Patrick Stanbury at Photoplay Productions in association with the BFI, is the most complete version of Gance’s masterpiece since its 1927 premiere at the Paris Opéra.

The SFSFF screenings also mark the U.S. premiere of the renowned orchestral score, written over 30 years ago (and twice expanded since), by Carl Davis, who will conduct the Oakland East Bay Symphony.

The spectacular presentation at the 3,000-seat, Art Deco Oakland Paramount will be climaxed by its finale in “Polyvision”—an enormous triptych, employing three speciallyinstalled synchronized projectors, that will dramatically expand the screen to triple its width. The logistics and expense of screening Napoleon properly with full orchestra and special equipment have made it nearly impossible to mount. Gance’s Napoleon hasn’t been screened theatrically in the U.S. with live orchestra for nearly 30 years and there are no plans to repeat the SFSFF event in any other American city.

Says Stacey Wisnia, Executive Director of the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, “This will be ‘the cinema event of a lifetime’ and for once that’s not just hype, considering that we may never have another chance to see Napoleon presented on this scale, and with Carl Davis’ magnificent score. But we’re also referring to the lifetime of passion that Kevin Brownlow has devoted to bringing Abel Gance’s original vision back to life.” 

Mr. Brownlow, who last year became the first film historian ever honored with a special Academy Award, became fascinated with Gance’s film when, as a schoolboy in the 1950s, he ran two 9.5mm reels he had stumbled upon at a street market.

“I was stunned by the cinematic flair,” says Brownlow. “I was exhilarated by the rapid cutting and the swirling camera movement. What daring! I had never seen anything comparable—and I set out to find more of it.” That determination led to a lifelong quest. The first major Brownlow/BFI restoration culminated in a screening at the Telluride Film Festival in 1979, with 89-year-old Gance watching from a nearby hotel window. Under the auspices of Francis Ford Coppola and Robert A. Harris, a version of this restoration, accompanied by a score composed by Mr. Coppola’s father Carmine, was presented to great acclaim at Radio City Music Hall and other venues in the U.S. and around the world in the early 1980s. Mr. Brownlow and the BFI did additional restoration work in 1983.

Abel Gance and Kevon Brownlow in the late 1960s
The current restoration, completed in 2000 but not previously seen outside Europe, reclaims more than 30 minutes of additional footage discovered since the 1979 screening and visually upgrades much of the film. This unique 35mm print, made at the laboratory of the BFI’s National Archive, uses traditional dye-bath techniques to recreate the color tints and tones that enhanced the film on its original release, giving a vividness to the image as never before experienced in this country. Each screening of the 5 1/2-hour epic will begin in the afternoon and will be shown in four parts with three intermissions, including a dinner break. Tickets will be available online through the  SFSFF website, www.silentfilm.org, beginning July 18.

Abel Gance’s NAPOLEON is being presented by the San Francisco Silent Film Festival, in association with American Zoetrope, The Film Preserve, Photoplay Productions, and the BFI. Technical services will be provided by Boston Light & Sound.


Founded in 1994, the San Francisco Silent Film Festival has showcased the finest films of the silent era as they were meant to be seen: on the big screen with live music composed and performed by accomplished artists. While its annual July festival remains its flagship event, the SFSFF now  produces special events throughout the year.

Says Robert Byrne, SFSFF board president, “This extraordinary presentation of Gance’s masterpiece is a major cultural coup, not just for our festival, but for the whole Bay Area.”

6 comments:

  1. Be sure and check out Leonard Maltin's post about this extraordinary announcement -- http://blogs.indiewire.com/leonardmaltin/archives/2011/07/15/napoleon_to_conquer_u.s._again/

    ReplyDelete
  2. Counting the days!!!.........my good friend, Valerie LePretre and I already have our tickets for opening night and are flying in from Louisiana for this incredible event. Cannot wait !!!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Just booked tickets and hotel. Saw this in London in 2000. So excited I really don't need airline tickets! Hello again Kevin and Carl!

    ReplyDelete
  4. We've long been inspired by urban art and have finally created a collection that pays homage to this secret addiction of ours!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Here in North america it's not so bad now (and I believe it will not be) but still, comercial property fall will come here too...

    runescape gold for sale
    FF14 CD Key

    ReplyDelete
  6. I think most of individuals posting comments here speech that paramount projectors area unit junk area unit those that have not used a dominant projector or have not seen it operating. I Paramount smart-905 from space|a neighborhood} merchant in my area and I’m terribly pleased with it. I watch blue ray movies with it and therefore the pictures area unit continuously sharp. I even have set the screen to 90” and therefore the pictures appear to fill my area. I even have seen somebody speech that a number of the buttons don’t work. Well, that's contrary to my experience; all the buttons area unit operating utterly. i need to say that I’m terribly pleased with my purchase.

    ReplyDelete