The term “film restoration” has lost its excitement. More often than not, when a new DVD or Blu-ray of an older film is touted as being “restored,” it only means that a minimally different version has been digitally mastered. It’s a ploy to have consumers purchase yet another copy of the same title.
These days, movie-going can be an expensive proposition-- and I would hate to have to plunk down some hard-earned money in the hope of finding relaxation in a darkened movie theater and end up sitting through a comedy that is crass and unfunny or a thriller that simply is not thrilling, not to mention the very real possibility that the person sitting next to me will be yapping away on his or her cellphone while I am trying to soak in all the on-screen dialogue.
For decades, filmmakers from across the globe have been producing works that explore their country’s history, culture, and politics-- and that offer perspectives on that history. In this regard, two very different but not unrelated films were screened at this year’s Toronto Film Festival. One spotlights East Germany in the 1980s, before the fall of communism. The other is a portrait of France in the early 1970s, when a certain type of young person was embracing a Marxist/anarchist ideal.
With the election of a U.S. president much in the news, one soon-to-be-released film takes on extra-special resonance. That film is HYDE PARK ON HUDSON, which was screened at the Toronto Film Festival and is scheduled to open theatrically in December.