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Restored films turn back clock

By Liu Wei (China Daily)

09:49, June 21, 2012

A scene from the 1937 film Crossroads, starring Bai Yang and Zhao Dan.

One of the highlights of this year's Shanghai International Film Festival (SIFF) is the screening of three films from the 1930s and 40s, which were restored jointly with Jaeger-Lecoultre, a Swiss luxury watch and clock manufacturer.

The works are the products of the Classic Movie Restoration Program, launched at SIFF last year.

"Both a luxury watch and an old film need good care to keep them working well," says Daniel Chang, Jaeger-Lecoultre's managing director for China. "Also, they both require the inheritance of exquisite and subtle techniques."

Crossroads is the oldest film on the list, directed by Shen Xiling in 1937. Starring Bai Yang and Zhao Dan, the film exemplifies the trend of Chinese films in the mid-1930s, which incorporated allusions to the war with Japan.

The other two, A Spring River Flows East and Eight Thousand Li of Cloud and Moon, were both made in 1947.

A Spring River Flows East, directed by Zheng Junli and Cai Chusheng, portrays the trials and tribulations of an ordinary Shanghai family over a decade, while Eight Thousand Li of Cloud and Moon depicts how a woman lived her dreams during World War II.

China Film Archive and Laser S. Film, an Italian company based in Rome and specializing in post-production and film restoration, repaired the films.

To support the restoration, Jaeger-Lecoultre worked with SIFF to initiate a charity auction at this year's festival opening night, where the watch brand sold its latest women watch series, Rendez-Vous Night & Day, for 580,000 yuan ($92,000).

"Rendez-Vous means 'a date', and Jaeger-LeCoultre considers the cooperation with SIFF a sweet date," CEO Jerome Lambert says.

Jaeger-LeCoultre offered a Duomtre Quantime Lunaire last year, which was sold at 600,000 yuan.

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