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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Specht

Film, The Living Record of Our Memory, A Documentary on the Vital Importance of Film Preservation

Kino Lorber will be releasing a new documentary, Film, The Living Record of Our Memory, a tribute to the archivists, technicians, and curators who safeguard our cinematic heritage. It features appearances by cinematic luminaires including Costa-Gavras, Jonas Mekas, Patricio Guzmán, Ken Loach, Bill Morrison, Fernando Trueba, Win Wenders, Martin Scorsese, Barbara Rubin, Idrissa Ouédraogo, Ridley Scott, Ousmane Sembene and many more. Film preservation has been a prominent concern of classic film fans for many years, but not everyone understands why it's such an important aspect to history in general, let alone know about those who operate the frontlines.

Why preserve film in a world where audiovisual materials seem so readily available online? That is the key question posed in Film, the Living Record of Our Memory. Many in depth interviews were conducted with proponents as well as those behind the process. Together, they explore what film preservation is and why it is still so important to preserve celluloid, even in an increasingly digital world. Thanks to the tireless work of these film professionals, many of whom work unrecognized behind the scenes, we are still able to watch films that are more than 125 years old.

This film pays tribute to their conviction that film holds our collective memory, and that access to film as it was meant to be seen may one day change a life. Film, The Living Record of Our Memory highlights the unique challenges of maintaining film, the cultural and political barriers to preservation, and the surprising risks of digital preservation. This work is critical because, as the film explains, so much of this heritage has already been lost forever. Our cultural heritage is vanishing more and more from day to day. It requires constant care just to survive, let alone to be able to share that heritage with the next generation and beyond.

The film takes a look at what's involved to save damaged films that are literally disintegrating in front of our eyes, and those who provide the valuable service of resurrecting the movies that have become essential to the human experience. Charles Bramesco of The Guardian says the film, "Gives these unsung heroes of the arthouse their due, establishing the high stakes of their mission and celebrating the small miracle that happens every time they rescue another title from the brink of extinction.” No one could say anything better on paper what Film, The Living Record of Our Memory says twenty-four frames per second.


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