Through technology, the consumption and spreading of images has acquired other possibilities; the traditional family photo album dissapeared and photography lives other dimensions in Facebook and Instagram. Also, documentary has transformed into a space where the family chronicle occurs, and the photo album has turned into a movie that tries to achieve adjustment to the utmost intimate secrets.
Amid this transformation process on the creation of images, one of the greatest challenges is the preservation of the XXth Century filmic experience; an experience that was based on analogue photography and which in cinema’s case, only a few available projectors are left to this day. Movies’ restoration is done in two tracks: the preservation of the copy in 35mm and the creation of a new copy in digital format, currently in DCP.
Throughout last year UNAM’s cinematheque worked on the restoration of Tepeyac (1917, directed by José Manuel González, Carlos E. González and Fernando Sáyago) one of our melodramas inspired in Italian cinema which introduced the diva as a worshipping form of the female beauty. In this case, apart from the recreation of the Virgin of Guadalupe’s miracle, the movie has shots that depict how devotion was 100 years ago. They are in a way, images where there is a breath of eternity.
One of the most emblematic Latin American films will also be presented: Memorias del subdesarrollo (1968, Tomás Gutiérrez Alea) an epic portrait of the first years of the Cuban Revolution, the film ends with images of the militant spirit of the time. In this case, the restoration process was performed “in the prodigious laboratory of Bologne’s Cinematheque, L’Immagine Ritrovata, and by initiative of The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, under the leadership of Martin Scorsese.” In thi case the contrast between the images and the current moment determined by the passing away of Fidel Castro, will be revealing.
The daily work that preserves the cinematographic legacy -and functions as a nourishing album of social memories- of each nation is immense; for the time being we will be able to appreciate that search for realism that links Tepeyac with Memorias del Subdesarrollo.
We thank the support of UNAM’S Cinematheque and ICAIC in the presentation of these classics. Tepeyac’s projection will be musicalized by Deborah Silverer.
— Gerardo Salcedo Romero