If you needed a reminder of the importance of preserving film history, it was driven home by “The Artist’s” big wins during this weekend’s Academy Awards.
Writing in The Guardian, film critic Pamela Hutchinson says Michel Hazanavicius’ mostly silent tribute to Hollywood’s first golden age is a reminder that “film preservation doesn’t happen by itself.” When Hollywood switched to sound movies, 80 percent of silent films were lost, Hutchinson notes.
Here’s the nut graf:
“Film preservation doesn’t happen by itself; it takes care and technology and a good deal of money. Which is a lesson we’ve learned slowly, over the near 120-year history of the cinema. So, as a rule, studios no longer toss their movies aside the moment they leave the cinemas. There are national and local archives, and with home video, we’re all the keepers of our own private collections. By contrast, in Michel Hazanavicius’s silent film, Valentin burns his own work because he feels it is outdated, just as in that other Oscars big-hitter Hugo, George Méliès’s precious trick movies are melted down and made into shoes.”
Read the full story here.