The 2015 European Cinerama Festival Tour
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The 70mm Newsletter
and photographed by: Anders M Olsson,
Strohmaier posing with posters for two of his restorations.
I arrived at the Oslo Gardermoen airport on Tuesday afternoon and soon
found my way to the Airport Express Train. The train is very convenient,
and you don't even have to obtain a ticket. Simply swipe your credit
card at the gates and select your destination on the touch screen. The
receipt will be sent by e-mail.
After 20 minutes you're at the Oslo Central Station from where it's a
five minute walk to Filmens Hus, the Norwegian Film Institute's offices,
cinemas and museum. In many ways it reminds me of the National Media
Museum in Bradford, but on a slightly smaller scale. Perhaps you can
call it "Bradfjord"?
After checking in to my hotel, I went to Filmens Hus to pick up my
tickets for the films and the fjord cruise. With so many tickets, the
cashier asked me if I was moving in!
The Cinerama screenings didn't start until the next day, and since I had
nothing else planned, I decided to see two other films on the program.
First there was a real Norwegian classic from 1972, "Norske
byggeklosser" which literally translates to "Norwegian Building Blocks".
It's a comedy about the horrors of having a house built when you're
caught between bureaucracy, a dishonest entrepreneur, lazy workers and a
clueless wife. The much loved Norwegian comedy actor, the late Rolv
Wesenlund, stars in no less than eight different roles (which, in my
opinion is a bit much, even for Wesenlund).
The film had been shot on super 16mm, blown up to 35mm and looked a bit
grainy, but with very nice colors. That was the only sample of real
celluloid film that I had the opportunity to see during my stay in Oslo.
Everything else was digital.
More in 70mm reading:|
Gallery: Cinerama Remaster, Oslo, Norway
Sold Out “Windjammer” Screening And Christian Radich Cruise Closes The
2015 European Cinerama Festival Tour
The 2015 European Cinerama Festival Tour
Mystery Cinerama truck in Sweden
70MM Impressions from Oslo
Jan E. Olsen's TV appearance on Norwegian TV.
Jan E. Olsen speaks about Cinemateket and "Windjammer". That
story starts at about 9 minutes into the program. I don't know if it
will work in all countries:
Here's an approximate translation of the Norwegian dialogue:
Knut-Martin Løken (the anchorman):
- When TV made people stay at home in the 1950's, something spectacular
was needed to lure them back to the cinemas.
The special film format that was used can now be experienced at the
Cinemateket. Cinerama had a huge and wide image, and the most successful
film here in Norway was the major production "Windjammer", featuring the
training ship Christian Radich.
The film ran for sold-out houses at the Colosseum for nine months, and
tomorrow it will be possible to see it again.
projector on display at the entrance of the film museum is an AGA Baltic, a
vintage machine of Swedish origin.
Before the film, the other star and "straight man", Bjørn Sand, was
interviewed on stage by film critic Per Haddal. Bjørn shared a wealth of
anecdotes about his life as a variety revue writer, actor, director and
more. He is supposedly (!?) the only Norwegian ever to give direction to
Later that evening, I saw "Inherent Vice" in a digital 2K version. That
film might be of some interest to in70mm readers since it's been blown
up to 70mm and shown that way at some locations. Not here though, and
the film also lacked the Norwegian subtitles that were supposed to have
been there. I'm not a big fan of P.T. Anderson, and I don't think the
film lives up to its reputation.
Leaving the cinema close to midnight I came out in a frightful rain, so
I hurried back to my hotel which is just around the corner. I still
couldn't avoid getting soaking wet.
On the next day, the first day of Cinerama screenings, the cinema
audience was greeted by a red carpet outside the building. Surely the
Norwegian premiere of some never before seen Cinerama films deserves a
red carpet! But wait... they were actually rolling up the red carpet,
and a crowd of dressed-up and important-looking men and women left the
Jan E. Olsen:|
- The unique thing about Saturday's performance is that there's a
matinee here at half past one at the Cinemateket. But when leaving the
cinema you'll find the star itself - the Christian Radich - waiting for
us at the City Hall berth. And it will take us on a four hour
So it's a unique possibility to see the star both on screen and to walk
right onto the ship.
and Randy rolling out the red carpet for "Windjammer".
What had taken place was the award ceremony for Åse Kleveland who had
been awarded the very prestigious order of S:t Olaf by his Majesty the
King of Norway. Åse is a well-known and much loved singer and actor who
has a past as Norwegian Minister of Culture and as Director of the
Swedish Film Institute.
Unlike most other film festivals, there were no daytime screenings on
weekdays. Nothing really happened until the first film came on each day
at 5:30pm, leaving the days open for your own excursions. So I usually
took a walk on the town, had lunch, coffee or visited the museum at the
Film Institute. The Bastion Hotel gave a very nice afternoon tea or
coffee. At 3 o'clock they turned on the griddle in the dining room for
hotel guests to make their own pancakes - all free of charge and
included in the room price.
The trio of Dave Strohmaier, Randy Gitsch and Tom March had been in
Europe for the Cinerama Tour since April 17, and this was their final
stop before going home to the States and Canada respectively.
Gitsch and David Strohmaier.
The Tancred Cinema was roughly half full for the first film, "This is
Cinerama". The local organizer Jan E. Olsen gave a brief introduction in
Norwegian and then handed over the microphone to Randy and Dave for some
more introductions in English.
While the impact of "This is Cinerama" is still there, it was apparent
that the raw material (a 70mm print) used for the restoration was not
quite up to par compared to most of the other Cinerama films which have
been restored from their original camera negatives. For comparison,
after the feature film, the newly made short "In the Picture" was shown
as an example of how great digital smileboxed Cinerama can look.
After the show, Tom March handed out envelopes with 3-strip samples from
"In the Picture".
The second and last film of the day, "Cinerama Holiday", saw a smaller
audience which was perhaps a pity, because it's in many ways a better
film. Randy introduced the film and gave us some interesting facts about
the Suvretta House and the skating comedy duo Frick and Frack whose
routines feature in the film.
is THIS wide!
The next two nights featured more Cinerama travelogs including
"Cinerama's Russian Adventure" which is a compilation of clips from
Russian Kinopanorama films. Each of the introductions followed the same
formula: First some words in Norwegian by Jan E. Olsen followed by
interesting facts about each film by Randy Gitsch. Finally some
technical notes by restoration wizard Dave Strohmaier.
"Search for Paradise" may have a certain urgency these days with the
recent earthquakes in Nepal in mind. Much of the buildings and
surroundings seen in the film no longer exist.
I've seen these films many times, but only on deeply curved screens, and
on my own smallish TV. Never before had I seen them on a large flat
screen. When seated at least halfway back into the cinema, the smilebox
process made the illusion of a curved screen complete. If I hadn't known
better, I could have sworn that I was actually sitting in front of a
Finally, on Saturday afternoon, it was time for the big event. Most of
the previous films had never before been screened in Norway, so they
were totally unknown here and attracted only small audiences. But
"Windjammer" was different. The film is as well-known as the star of the
film, the full-rigged sailing ship Christian Radich. Ticket sales had
been strong from start, and the last few seats sold out quickly after a
TV-appearance by Jan E. Olsen.
"Windjammer" was one of the first restorations by Dave Strohmaier and his
team, and it was based on an archived 35mm scope print from the Swedish
Film Institute. Dave is currently searching support for a new and
improved restoration from the original camera negatives. The target is
to have it ready in time for the film's 60th and the ship's 80th
anniversary in 2017-2018.
After the film, the ship Christian Radich waited at the dock by the City
Hall to take us on a four-hour cruise on the Oslofjord. Even though
weather conditions could have been better, to actually get a chance to
see the Christian Radich from the inside was something special, an event
unique to this film festival. I can't imagine a more appropriate way to
close the 2015 European Cinerama Festival Tour!
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