Mission report from Krnov's KRRR! 70mm Seminar
Kino Mir 70, Krnov, April 2018
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|Written by: Thomas Hauerslev||Date: 18.04.2018|
|For the 13th time, the annual "KRRR! 70mm Seminar" took place by mid-April 2018 at the "Kino Mir 70" cinema in Krnov, in the Czech Republic. A full weekend from Friday at 14:00 until late Sunday afternoon. The KRRR! 70mm Seminar follows the weekend format, with 70mm film screenings from early in the morning until late evening. Three to four film titles per day. It's a busy weekend, even for the seasoned 70mm fan. The 2018 program varied from the old classic "South Pacific" in the splendour of Todd-AO, to a rare Dolby Stereo classic "Apocalypse Now", to the very latest Panavision Super 70 "Murder on the Orient Express" in full DATASAT sound. Foreign titles included the Russia "Breakthrough" in Sovscope 70 from 1986, and the rare French "For Those I Loved" from 1983. At the last moment "Phantom Thread" had to be cancelled, and replaced with an encore 70mm showing of the thriller "The Exorcist" in 70mm Dolby Stereo.|
FRIDAY 13. April 2018
14.00 Proryv / Breakthrough (1986)
16.30 Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
19.30 The Last Emperor (1987)
SATURDAY 14. April 2018
09.00 For Those I Loved / Au Nom de Tous les Miens (1983)
12.45 Presentation "IN 7OMM: Past and Present" by Thomas Hauerslev
14.00 Phantom Thread (2017) - cancelled and replaced by The Exorcist (1973)
17.00 South Pacific (1958)
20.45 Apocalypse Now (1979)
SUNDAY 15. April 2018
09.00 Little Buddha (1993)
12.00 Lethal Weapon 3 (1992)
14.30 Proryv / Breakthrough (1986)
Old film, faded films, films with color, and in foreign languages, with several layers of subtitles. New 70mm prints and vintage prints found in basements, and in flea markets. An interesting mixture of new and old. The odd surprise, and more well-known titles. Something for everyone. Guests began to arrive Thursday evening, but the majority came during the Friday and even Saturday morning to spend three full days looking at the curved screen. It can be exhausting at times to sit down for the better part of 18+ hours for three days, if you want to see everything. But then again, you are allowed to skip a film or two to go for a walk.
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KRRR! 13th 70mm Film Fest Krnov 2018
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Notes from the 12th 7OMM Seminar 2017
Gallery: 12th 7OMM Seminar
Gallery: 10th 70mm Seminar
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|Located very close to the Polish border, Krnov is in the far east of the Czech Republic. Going to Krnov can be a challenge. The nearest airport is Ostrava, 60 km away, and the connections are not particularly good from there to Krnov. Renting a car at Ostrava airport is one pricey option and, it should be noted, much less expensive than renting a vehicle in Prague. Train services from Prague take around four hours, with a change in Olomouc. The majority of the 70mm attendees do come from the Czech Republic, the Slovak Republic and sometimes also from Poland and most of them arrive by car and train I guess. Despite the challenges associated with getting there, the foreign visitors and 70mm enthusiasts from Italy, US, France, Germany, Sweden and Denmark always manage to find their way to Krnov. A good 70mm festival cannot scare people away just because it is in a remote area. Devotées can sniff out a good 70mm festival from miles away!|
The KRRR! 70mm Seminar has a large and loyal group of followers. From the start in 2006, the KRRR! 70mm Seminar also welcomed foreign guests, and this year was no different. 70mm fans from many European countries and even two guests from the US attended this particular weekend. The KRRR! is always arranged and coordinated by Kino Mir 70's manager Pavel Tomasek, and the city of Krnov. This year I arrived a day earlier than usual, and I was pleasantly surprised by Pavel's dinner invitation the same evening at 19:00. I met other guests from Europe, including festival "virgin" Mr. Piero Fumagalli from the Arcadia cinema in Melzo, near Milan. Also joining us was Hans Haenssler from Germany, and Peggy & Paul Rayton from Hollywood, as well as several local guests. Around the table we sat and talked about cinema and 70mm from Czech and Slovak Republics, Germany, Italy and Denmark. Across language barriers we exchanged stories and pictures of cinemas. It was fun and the food and beer were great.
Following the dinner, Pavel invited us to the Kino Mir 70 to view some tests they had been working on recently. As it often turns out, older 70mm prints are damaged to such a degree, that sound cannot be played. It is often the magnetic striped soundtrack which can be worn such that it becomes unplayable. Normally, that would be the end of a 70mm print, and it would have to be junked, or at least not shown to the public. For the purpose of this demonstration they used an old faded print from a 1967 musical, with a severely damaged mag track. These guys had managed to sync this print with the digital sound from a BluRay/DVD to the pictures on the screen. It is still in some sort of testing phase, and occasionally drifted a bit out of synch here and there, but still, it was an exceptionally promising demo. Older prints have cuts and splices, sections missing etc. etc. A lot of things can be wrong. As I understood it, they have scanned the 70mm film print to count all the frames, and then synched that with a digital sound source. In other words, if frames or sections are missing, the sound will jump forward to the next picture. The test we saw was impressive, and I am convinced this will work well once the technique has been fine tuned. During this reel, they changed back and forth between the analogue film sound on the print, and back again to digital sound. It was very convincing. Following the test, Pavel could not resist showing us several odd reels from the cinema archive. Always fun and interesting, but my internal clock was running, and I was tired after a long day, and headed off to the hotel and bed around midnight.
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Kino Mir 70
Namesti Miru 14
794 01 Krnov
The Czech Republic
Telephone: +420 554 615 050
Head of the Kino Mir 70: Pavel Tomešek
|Poster stands around the city of Krnov are decorated with plenty of KRRR! 70mm Seminar poster displays, and 70mm stickers. It is almost as if the displays will lead you to the Kino Mir 70. Just next to cinema is a very large billboard announcing the festival with the iconic "70" KRRR! festival logo in the shape of a hand-sign. Once you are inside the spacious Kino Mir 70 foyer, you are invited to sign in, and get your accreditation. Plenty of staff are waiting for you, to hand out the festival badge. Once you get it, your next stop is the box office where two ladies await you. You tick off the films you want to see, and they hand you the individual tickets. Your luggage can be deposited in to the cloakroom where you will get a number to keep, until you leave the cinema again. All very convenient.|
In the middle of the foyer the visitor can enjoy a poster exhibition and a large number of vintage film projectors, including a pair of the Meopton UM 70/35 machines (also in use at the Kino Mir 70), and a Philips DP75. All sorts of KRRR! merchandise is available too, including t-shits, pens, hats, coffee mugs and badges. The T-shirts are very popular with many people wearing them throughout the weekend. A temporary cafe is installed throughout the weekend opposite the main stairs to the cinema. In this cafe the visitor can get sausages, local dishes, and great Czech beers. Prices are very good.
The printed festival program is in Czech only. One little improvement proposal I'd like to see for the years to come would be to print one page in English with a simple day-by-day line-out of the weekend activities. I missed the group picture, as I missed the announcement of when that was supposed to be taken. The organizers of the KRRR! 70MM Seminar and the City of Krnov could easily improve the printed festival program I figure. For the time being, the only festival information in English is here. Many Czech festival guests and most the staff does not speak English, and this can be a challenge for us foreigners. If it was not for Adela, Bara, Martin and Martin, who all speak English, we would be lost. Even at the Steiger hotel, it is a challenge to communicate, as nearly no one speaks English or German. In the end, we all seem to be able to communicate enough, and find ways of expressing ourselves, however.
I had a busy three days ahead of me. I had planned to see eight movies, but in the end, I had to rethink that plan for several reasons, as explained below. This was my initial (and too optimistic) weekend wish list:
FRIDAY 13. April 2018
|14.00 Sovscope 70: Breakthrough (1986)|
The first film on Friday came from USSR, and was made in 1986 just before Perestrojka and Glasnost. A Russian disaster movie which takes place during the construction of a Metro line in St. Petersburg - called Leningrad at that time. Very sharp 70mm picture quality, and I am certain it was filmed on 70mm Sovscope stock. Unlike disaster movies where everything blows up, and people shout and scream to a big booming musical score, this one was very quiet. A rare gem, and classical "70mm Seminar" material. I'm thrilled at the opportunity to see these Russian 70mm films this weekend, alas this was the only one shown.
16.30 Panavision System 65: Murder on the Orient Express (2017)
"Murder on the Orient Express" followed, and it was apparent to me how well it looked on the matte white screen. I have only seen it previously on 3D silver screens, and they do no good for 70mm, or any other film for that matter. I truly dislike 3D silver screens. "Express" looked beautiful on this screen and I was pleasantly surprised how bright it was. The story starts on a high note, in bright sunlight, people looking great in 70mm, and Patric Doyle's music sets the tone in great Datasat 6-track sound. We are in for a fast forward, moving train holiday adventure with Hercule Poirot. And then suddenly, the overall mood changes mid-film, and it turns into a very sad story instead.
19.30 35mm Technovision to 70mm blow-up: The Last Emperor (1987)
"The Last Emperor" in magnetic six-track Dolby Stereo. The print didn't look especially sharp, and the overall color was yellowish (too warm). A huge success when it came out. Personally I ran it three months in 35mm, but never really came to appreciate it. Unlike "Amadeus", which I think I saw at least 10 times, and still see to this day. My best memory of "The Last Emperor", is meeting my future wife, as she sat in the box office, and sold the tickets. This print was Italian, with dual subtitles projected from the digital machine, in both English and Czech. That was a real blessing for those of us, who don't understand Italian. A few of us slipped out 30 min into the film, and headed over to the Greek restaurant, Hermes, a 10 min walk from the Kino Mir 70. We had booked a table for 20:30, but it took quite a while before they got around to serving our drinks and food. Perhaps under-staffed for a weekend evening? The food is very good, however, and there are not any other options nearby.
SATURDAY 14. April 2018
|09.00 70mm blow-up: For those I loved / Au Nom de Tous les Miens (1983)|
Saturday I planned to see this French production at 9 in the morning. Running time of 2:20 about the Jewish ghetto in Warsaw during WW2. To be honest, I simply had to leave 1 hour into the film, as it was too depressing for my taste - 70mm or not. A French flat full frame 70mm blow-up from 1,66:1. It was rather grainy, and the look of it supplemented the sad story. Production value was very good, however, with impressive sets, costumes and really authentic period trams. Michael York was good in a double role, as an adult in contemporary times, and at the same time playing his own dad, during the war. This print allegedly came from a flea market in Paris, where it was sold to a collector. It is not available on DVD or BluRay, and it was only shown in one Parisian cinema when it came out in 1983 - or something like that. A very unique opportunity to see this rare title.
It was time to give my own presentation. Titled "IN 7OMM: Past and Present", I presented a brief history of 70mm from the earliest boxing match in 1897, until present day, with examples of cinemas, cameras, advertising, lenses, special venue, showmanship etc. The presentation was in English. It was translated to Czech by Bara Stevanova, who sat in the last row, and transmitted my words in Czech to listeners with headsets. A couple of questions followed.
14.00 70mm blow-up: The Exorcist (1973)
Originally, I had decided to skip "The Exorcist", because I needed to go and get something to eat - 6 hours after breakfast. That changed the same morning, since I had taken an early exit during the French film. "The Exorcist" was great to see again. Remixed for 6-track Dolby Stereo. Despite being faded, it is a good story, with a pleasing 1970-ish tempo and photography. Acting is superb. I am glad I stayed for that. Surprisingly sharp.
|17.00 Todd-AO: South Pacific (1958)|
"South Pacific" in the splendor of Todd-AO. I'd forgotten how the process logo appears at the first credit after the title. It's interesting compared to "Dunkirk" and "Murder on the Orient Express", both of which totally lack any credit about Panavision System 65 or IMAX. These days the usual is "Camera and Lenses by Panavision" somewhere in the credits. I believe Tarantino got a big kick out of adding the Ultra Panavision 70 AND CINERAMA logo to his own "The Hateful Eight". Good for him, and much to enjoyment and pleasure to the rest of us. I think this is the same 70mm Todd-AO print we have seen in Bradford and Karlsruhe. Overall it looks good but seems a bit yellow here and there. The DTS [now called DATASAT] "special venue" (5 stage channels) sound is a bit thin - maybe a subject for improvement in a new sound remastering? Todd-AO sound in general is big 6-track stereo with lots of dynamic range, with this one mixed by Fred Hynes at Todd-AO studios i 1958.
20.45 35mm Technovision to 70mm blow-up: Apocalypse Now (1979)
I've always wanted to see "Apocalypse Now" in 70mm - it was a milestone in picture and sound when it came out in 1979. This was the opportunity, but alas, it was not starting until 20:45, which is much too late for my taste. Its 2:33 running time dictated a finish around 23:15. I decided to leave after the two first reels. It was great to hear the choppers in the beginning of the film, and everything that was going on the screen. The sound was too low for my taste - for this film, it should really be LOUD. You should feel the sound moving air, and sadly it didn't. It wasn't bad, just too low. The blow-up was very well made, with very sharp Technovision images on the big screen. This UK print was of course faded, but I didn't mind.
SUNDAY 15. April 2018
|08:15 70mm reel 1 from "Amadeus"|
The surprise, unscheduled and unexpected attraction was at 8:15 am Sunday. It was a free 70mm screening of reel 1 from "Amadeus", by legendary Czech director Milos Forman, who had passed away the day before, just as the 13th KRRR! 70mm Seminar was starting. It was a very early start on a Sunday for some people, but I didn't mind. I ran "Amadeus" for 16 months straight when it came out, and I still remember a lot of the dialogue by heart. It is one of my favorite films of all time, and the opportunity to see even just reel 1 in 70mm Dolby Stereo was not to be missed. I was not disappointed. It was a rare treat to see it again. I never get tired of it. Big sound and big 70mm colorful images, and the story begins. Now I must go back and view the full movie on my BluRay again soon.
9.00 35mm Technovision & ARRI 765 to 70mm blow-up: Little Buddha (1993)
The first full film this morning "Little Buddha" by Bernardo Bertolucci which I had never seen. Some of it photographed in 65mm with the ARRI 765 from Germany. A blow up from the last years of "Dolby Stereo blow-ups" in 1993. It looked really good, with hardly any scratches. Very sharp pictures. It was the third film this weekend photographed by Cinematographer Vittorio Storaro in his Technovision system by Technicolor Rome.
|Generally, the weekend schedule was good and well organized. One suggested improvement (if I may) could be, not to start the first film at 09:00 in the morning, but wait one hour until 10:00. I spoke with a few guests, who "vented" their opinion, about the early start. Many festival goes are "B" people, or night owls, who prefer to be awake until the early hours of the morning, and sleep longer. For them it is a problem to get up, get breakfast and be at the cinema for the first show at 9. One hour later would be better. On the other hand, I personally, am an "A" type of person, who likes to get up at 5 in the morning. For me, it can be a problem to stay awake in the evening, and it is not getting better with age. I was sorry to miss half of "Apocalypse Now", as the start time was scheduled to 20:45. With introductions etc. it didn't begin until 21:05. This could be fine for a 2-hour films, but for me, 2 hours and 33 minutes is too late, when the days are so long as they are. It worked fine on the Friday with a 19:30 start for a 2:40 hour movie with intermission. So in conclusion, adjusting the printed program as suggested, and maybe tighten programming a little bit as proposed, this would make the weekend a little smoother "in my humble opinion". |
This was my fourth visit to the Kino Mir 70 and Friday, Saturday and Sunday just flew by. Thanks to Adele, Bara, Pavel & Martin and the city of Krnov for the warm welcome and being good hosts for the foreign guests. Long life to 70mm in Krnov!
• Go to Previous KRRR! reports and pictures here: Kino Mir 70's 7OMM Seminar Krnov
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