Berlinale Classics: Restoration of Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari Nears Completion


WEBWIRE – Tuesday, December 10, 2013

As previously announced (see press release from April 9, 2013), at the Berliner Philharmonie on Sunday, February 9, 2014, the 64th Berlin International Film Festival will present a special Berlinale Classics highlight: the world premiere of the digitally restored version of Robert Wiene’s masterpiece Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari (The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari, 1920).

For the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung’s restoration in 4K resolution, for the first time all relevant materials were used: the original camera negative preserved at the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv in Berlin, which at the same time “witnessed” the making of the film, as well as several release prints from the period found in international film archives. The goal is to restore the film’s picture quality, form, expressionistic intertitles and characteristic historical tinting as convincingly as possible and thus show the film in a condition that does justice to its status as a classic.

“Noted worldwide, the Berlinale premiere of Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari will bring the digitization of our film heritage to the public’s attention. In the digital age, any work that has not been made accessible today is in danger of being lost forever,” remarks Ernst Szebedits, chairman of the Murnau-Stiftung.

The presentation will also be a world premiere with respect to the music. John Zorn, composer and multi-instrumentalist from New York, will accompany the film on the Karl Schuke organ at the Berliner Philharmonie. He will play a new - partly pre-composed, partly improvised - work commissioned by ZDF/ARTE. In his music Zorn combines different influences and styles, from new music, jazz and free jazz to noise and punk. A few years ago he discovered the organ as an instrument and has since given a number of highly praised concerts. The music will be recorded live and broadcast with the film on ARTE on February 12, 2014.

“Berlinale Classics offers a platform for premiering high-quality digital restorations and reconstructions,” says Rainer Rother, head of the Retrospective and Artistic Director of the Deutsche Kinemathek. “With Robert Wiene’s Das Cabinet des Dr. Caligari, we are pleased to be able to celebrate the screening of a silent film classic par excellence in 2014. Its digital restoration also goes back to a print from the Deutsche Kinemathek.”

This screening within the scope of the Berlinale Classics is being organized by the Berlin International Film Festival in cooperation with the Stiftung Deutsche Kinemathek, the Friedrich-Wilhelm-Murnau-Stiftung, the Stiftung Berliner Philharmoniker as well as ZDF in conjunction with ARTE, and 2eleven || zeitgenössische musik projekte.

Nearing completion, the film’s extensive digital restoration is being carried out by the Murnau-Stiftung in collaboration with the Bundesarchiv-Filmarchiv and L’Immagine Ritrovata – Film Restoration & Conservation, and the support of Bertelsmann.



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