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The Past Is a Moving PicturePreserving the Twentieth Century on Film$
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Janna Jones

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780813041926

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: January 2013

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813041926.001.0001

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Film Restoration: A New Way of Seeing Film History

Film Restoration: A New Way of Seeing Film History

(p.137) 5 Film Restoration: A New Way of Seeing Film History
The Past Is a Moving Picture

Janna Jones

University Press of Florida

This chapter is an investigation of what film restorationists do and how they think and talk about their work. Current restoration discourse and practices literally assemble and help to shape cinema history and reveal how the moving image archive influences the ways that a film history is understood. Focusing on several film restoration case studies and in-depth interviews with some of the country's foremost film restorationists, and the analysis of restoration commentary on the DVD version of Lost Horizon, my aim is not to critique the current methods of film restoration, but to interpret the way restorationists and the archival community both conceptualize film restoration and practice the piecing together of history. This knowledge helps us to better understand how restorationists regard the cinematic object as historical artifact and how the contemporary culture of the archive engages its relationship with the past. The work of restorationists and their particular kind of film-remaking show us the trench work of (re) constructing cinematic history. The restored film should be understood as new type of film born from the cinematic and archival sensibilities at the turn of the twenty-first century.

Keywords:   Film Restoration, Film Archive, Film history, Cinematic artifact, Historiography

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