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  • Carrie Specht

Celebrating 30 Years of The Film Foundation - Thursdays in October

On its 30th anniversary, TCM salutes The Film Foundation, a U.S.-based nonprofit organization established in 1990 by Martin Scorsese and other filmmakers to protect and preserve motion picture history.

The Film Foundation has worked in partnership with archives and studios around the world in order to perserve more than 850 films. These films are available to festivals, museums, and educational institutions in the effort to celebrate and share the rich history of cinema. The free educational curriculum, The Story of Movies, alone has taught more than 10 million young people about film language and history.


Without their efforts far too many films would be lost to the ravages of time, and once film-based media is gone there's no getting it back. Just like ancient artifacts and art from the masters, deterioration needs to be attended before there is nothing left to restore or protect. Fortunately, The Film Foundation is here to protect this part of our cultural history.


Every Thursday this October, TCM is screening twenty films from four decades with restorations in which the Film Foundation participated. Each decade offers an ecclectic array of iconic films. From the 1930s there's The Front Page (1931), Mystery of the Wax Museum (1933), Dodsworth (1936) and Love Affair (1939). The 1940s are represented by The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (1943), The Memphis Belle: A Story of the Flying Fortress (1944), The Seventh Cross (1944), Detour (1945) and She Wore a Yellow Ribbon (1949). The 1950s bring The Breaking Point (1950), Winchester '73 (1950), La Strada (1954), The Man with the Golden Arm (1955) and The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). And finally the 1960s with Primary (1960), Tunes of Glory (1960), Crisis: Behind a Presidential Commitment (1963), The Killers (1964), Two for the Road (1967) and Night of the Living Dead (1968).


TCM's tribute also includes five films from the World Cinema Project, which has restored forty-two films from twenty-five different countries. The restorations were completed by Italy's Cineteca di Bologna/L'Immagine Ritrovata laboratories in association with the World Cinema Project and other organizations. All of these films, shown below, have been released on digital formats through the esteemed Criterion Collection.


Dos monjes (Two Monks, 1934) is a horror film from Mexico, Black Girl (1966) is a French-Senegalese film, A River Called Titas (1973) is a joint production between India and Bangladesh, Trances (1981) is a musical documentary by Ahmed El Maânouni about the popular Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane, and A Brighter Summer Day (1991) is a Taiwanese epic crime drama set in Taiwan during the 1960s and focuses on the problems of alienated teenagers.


All in all, a rich selection of American and International films that might have been lost to the natural afflictions of time were it not for the work of The Film Foundation. I hope you get a chance to catch at least one of these works of art while available on TCM.