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Restored classics enjoy screen revival

Updated: 2023-03-21 08:36 ( China Daily )
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Scenes from restored Chinese films that are considered classics — Laborer's Love (1922).[Photo/Courtesy of the China Film Archive]

The strict preservation conditions also made the transport of the old films a "thrilling" task.

Last summer, Wang Zheng, a veteran film restorer who has worked at the archive's Beijing headquarters for 16 years, was assigned to fetch the reels of Laborer's Love. The movie was to be digitally restored and sent to screen during Il Cinema Ritrovato, an influential festival held in Bologna, Italy, for showcasing the latest restored films.

"The biggest challenge was ensuring the safety of the movie's reels during the transportation and scanning procedures. It was shot on nitrate-based film. Also known as 'flammable film', it will spontaneously combust if the temperature surpasses 40 C, and the fires are almost impossible to extinguish," explains Wang.

Almost like a race against time, every step of the transportation was cautiously planned. The reels were examined and cleaned before they were taken out from the Xi'an vault and then moved into a vehicle-adapted refrigerator specially equipped for the trip.

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