Film Restoration: A New Way of Seeing Film History

Janna Jones

in The Past Is a Moving Picture

Published by University Press of Florida

Published in print July 2012 | ISBN: 9780813041926
Published online January 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780813043906 | DOI:
Film Restoration: A New Way of Seeing Film History

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This chapter is an investigation of what film restorationists do and how they think and talk about their work. Current restoration discourse and practices literally assemble and help to shape cinema history and reveal how the moving image archive influences the ways that a film history is understood. Focusing on several film restoration case studies and in-depth interviews with some of the country's foremost film restorationists, and the analysis of restoration commentary on the DVD version of Lost Horizon, my aim is not to critique the current methods of film restoration, but to interpret the way restorationists and the archival community both conceptualize film restoration and practice the piecing together of history. This knowledge helps us to better understand how restorationists regard the cinematic object as historical artifact and how the contemporary culture of the archive engages its relationship with the past. The work of restorationists and their particular kind of film-remaking show us the trench work of (re) constructing cinematic history. The restored film should be understood as new type of film born from the cinematic and archival sensibilities at the turn of the twenty-first century.

Keywords: Film Restoration; Film Archive; Film history; Cinematic artifact; Historiography

Chapter.  12191 words. 

Subjects: History of the Americas

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