Camera Obscura: The Walerian Borowczyk Collection

Arrow Films   |   UK

40 years ago, the Polish-born France-based artist-turned-animator-turned-live action director Walerian Borowczyk was an arthouse giant, but he has since come perilously close to being forgotten altogether. Comprising brand new 35mm-sourced HD restorations of five features (Theatre of Mr & Mrs Kabal, Goto Isle of Love, Blanche, Immoral Tales, The Beast) and fifteen shorts alongside numerous context-setting extras and a 344-page book, this isn't so much a box set as a full-scale attempt at artistic rehabilitation, and is an essential release for anyone interested in world cinema at its most adventurous. Walerian Borowczyk is a filmmaker and artist whose work has been long overdue for rediscovery and re-evaluation. This year, Arrow Films, with the participation and involvement of Borowczyk's widow and close collaborators, embarked on a lengthy and complex project to restore a number of his key features and short films, many of which had been long unavailable to see in any format for many years. The aim was to create definitive restorations of these neglected but important films, as well as to provide archival materials that would support the preservation of Borowczyk's work. FURTHER INFORMATION: 1. Describe the element/s used for restoration, stating gauge and nature and specific problems associated with them (up to 100 words): All the films were restored to a 2K standard using the best original elements in existence. In many cases this meant using the original 35mm camera negative, although in some cases a combination of elements were used (such as on GOTO, ISLE OF LOVE, which utilised both Interpositive and Internegative elements) when this proved the best method. In all cases the original 35mm elements were scanned, graded and digitally restored in 2K. The work was conducted carefully to maintain the original grain, textures and feel of the film materials without any overt digital tinkering. 2. State the original aspect ratio and format (up to 100 words): The original aspect ratios were 1.37:1 or 1.66:1 from the original 35mm camera negatives used, or the combination of best available elements as provided by the rightsholders. 3. Outline the restored aspect ratio and format (up to 100 words): All films were restored to their original aspect ratios (the majority of which were 1.37:1 or 1.66:1). The restored format is 2K DPX data files stored on LTO drives, with 2K DCP formats for theatrical and HQ ProRes 422 files made available for HD/Blu-ray presentations. 4. Explain where the work was carried out for each title (including labs and facility houses) and broken down where there are multiple titles in an entry (up to 100 words): All restoration work was overseen by James White, Arrow's Head of Restoration. The Borowczyk project was jointly produced by Daniel Bird and Michael Brooke, world-renowned experts of Borowczyk's work. All scanning, grading and restoration work was completed at Deluxe Restoration in London. Copies of all the restoration materials including the archival scans have been delivered back to the French rightsholders for preservation purposes. 5. What methodology was used? (up to 100 words): All the features were scanned in 2K resolution on a pin-registered Arriscan and were graded using the Nucoda Film Master colour grading system. Restoration work was carried out using a combination of software tools and techniques. Thousands of instances of dirt, scratches and debris were carefully removed frame by frame, damaged frames were repaired, and density and stability issues were improved. Some minor picture and audio issues remain, in keeping with the condition of the film materials. The soundtracks were also remastered, minimising audio issues such as pops, bumps, clicks and audible buzz. 6. What preservation elements have been generated and where will they be stored? (up to 100 words): The restored format is 2K DPX data files stored on LTO drives, with 2K DCP formats for theatrical and HQ ProRes 422 files made available for HD/Blu-ray presentations.