Cinema Reborn – The Festival Of Restored Classics

Cinema Reborn – The Festival Of Restored Classics
Image: Claudette Colbert in MIDNIGHT.

Cinema Reborn, the festival of restored classics, returns for its sixth presentation with a program of 17 rarely screened cinematic treasures, many of which have been restored in 4K ultra high definition.

“What this means is that each frame of the film has been scanned, usually from a 35 mm source which is often hard to find,” explained Geoffrey Gardner, Chairman of the Organizing Committee.

“They clean up film damage, remove the scratches and stains, the dust and the sound is put through a whole new process to reduce the hum, rumble and noise floor.”

DAYS OF HEAVEN. Film still

The whistles that were a feature of sound recording in the past are also removed. The pristine scan which has 4000 pixels is then copied.

This is a long and complicated process normally performed by charitable foundations. “Expensive and painstaking…which is why even the major studios can only afford to do a handful a year.”

The chance of recouping that investment in the restoration process is nil as these restored classics merely screen at film festivals and may possibly end up on streaming services.

The opening night movie of this year’s festival is the world premiere of Universal Pictures 4K restoration of the 1939 classic Midnight. It’s one of the most popular screwball comedies of the 1930’s which should have audiences rolling down the aisles in laughter. Stars Hollywood darling of the era Claudette Colbert and Don Ameche.


A 30 year-old Aussie horror flick called Body Melt which many have described as the worst movie ever made, screens at the festival and is guaranteed to have audiences laughing and squirming simultaneously!

“It’s quite a satiric film and it’s not intended to be!” laughed Gardner. “It has its graphic elements and audiences will sit mortified throughout!”

Richard Gere fans can revisit his newly restored 1978 classic drama Days Of Heaven which delves on a young couple who take on a job working for a wealthy farmer during a wheat harvest in the Texan Panhandle.

This film was the recipient of an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and is also widely viewed as the most beautiful movie ever produced.

BODY MELT. Film still

From France comes the 4K restoration Australian Premiere of The Golden Coach filmed in 1952. This extravagance in movie making stars Anna Magnani and was directed by Jean Renoir – the perfect cinematic experience to close the festival.

Gardner would like to think that this film festival would appeal to all audiences, as the best-selling films currently are very mainstream.

“The same people who go to the Sydney Film Festival would be attendees at our festival. Students at film school would also show an interest in this festival, as the films screening are those which all serious film school students would expect to watch. However, our biggest shortage would be the younger audience.”

When asked whether this film festival should still be around in ten years time to mesmerize audiences Gardner was quick to respond. “God I hope so! Though I may not be!” he laughed.


LE SAMOURAI (India 1991) – The story of a mother torn between her family and the call of the divine. Restored to its former glory.

I KNOW WHERE I’M GOING (UK 1945) –  A Scottish romance which Gardner classifies as a masterpiece. Has comedy, suspense, and a touch of the supernatural. Directed by Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger.

THE DUPES (Syrian Arab Republic 1972) – A knock out. A relatable movie to what is happening in the world today. Concerns the displacement of people owing to warfare.

May 1 – 7

Ritz Cinema, St Pauls St Randwick



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