70MM in Varnsdorf - a new hope?
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The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Ulrich
Nejtek directing his team
times for a 70mm addict. The traditional Widescreen Weekend in Bradford was
shifted to October and business kept me away from Krnov. So I felt happy,
when an up till then unknown event was announced on “In70mm.com”. Once again
I took a long journey only to watch a couple of movies.
Imbedded in a beautiful landscape not too far away from either the German or
the Polish border the Czech smalltown
Varnsdorf is not the center of the
world and tourist attractions are somewhat limited.
|More in 70mm reading:
70MM in Varnsdorf – eine neue Hoffnung?
70mm Film Festival in
Centrum Panorama Varnsdorf
Warum sollte man 700 km
fahren um Hamlet in 70mm zu sehen?
Burkhard Habel and interpreter introducing GOYA
I first approached the “Centrum Panorama” I was a little bit in a worry. Did
I come too late? Is the site just being demolished? The empty hotel building
just next door to the cinema with it’s smashed windows did not look very
inviting. But it is better not to judge a book by its cover. Inside the
unspectacular shell there was a pearl to be found: A restored 500 seat
cinema hall with a large curved screen (7,2 * 16,5 m), two tip top
Meopta UM3570 projection machines and a powerful sound system ready to
perform the 70mm-format for the next three days.
on film formats
Nejtek is an enthusiastic film buff and a passionate collector of all kinds
of projection machines. It was at least this passion that made him buy the
closed down Cinema
“Centrum Panorama” then in a disastrous condition - and restore the
place with lots of work and money so it could be reopened in 2007. More than
a dozen historical movie projectors are now exhibited in the foyer.
This 70mm event was part of the cross-border Neisse Film Festival, named by
the river Neisse which marks the border between Germany and Poland since the
end of World War II. German film historian Frank-Burkhard Habel opened the
event with a short introduction to the east-German/Sovjet 70mm production
"Goya" which was to start the festival.
UM3570 at work
prints, most of which were contributed by the Kinomuseum Berlin, were -
aside from the inevitable color fading - in an overall good condition. The
new restored print of "Spartacus" was really in full color, the best
way I ever watched that spectacular movie.
My personal favourite was the performance of "Hello, Dolly!". A short
lecture on film formats held by Jean-Pierre Gutzeit (Kinomuseum Berlin) was
followed by a practical course: The prologue sequence was performed three
times, first a 16mm anamorphic print, then 35mm CinemaScope, and finally
full Todd-AO - no grain, excellent sharpness, powerful multichannel sound,
and only slightly colour faded.
But it was not only a festival on the screen. All those keen on looking
behind the scenes were invited by Pavel Nejtek and his team to have a look
inside the projection booth and watch the projectionists doing their job.
officially last film of the festival was "Around the World in 80 Days".
But then the organizers came up with a surprise: As an extra benefit the
sound system was torture tested by a full colour 70mm blow up print of Hal
Ashby's Rolling Stones Documentary "Let's Spend The Night Together".
After the final curtain the audience was invited for a "come together" in
the cinema's bar "Film Point" where a rich buffet with bohemian beer and a
giant Prague-style ham were offered.
Is the “Centrum Panorama” a new hope for heavily addicted 70mm-buffs? In my
opinion it surely is. This was an overall successful festival debut. An
enthusiastic and inspired team is dying to perform 70mm films as long as
prints exist. I wish an annual festival could be established and additional
film fans would follow the event so that the about fifty spectators would
not feel so lonely in a 500 seats hall. A big cheer to Pavel Nejtek and his
team. Let the force be with you!
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