KRRR! 70mm Filmfest in Krnov, 2019 Report
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|Written by: Hans Haenssler, Stuttgart, Germany. Pictures by Thomas Hauerslev.||Date: 19.04.2019|
|The 70mm film festival in Krnov (Czech Republic) took place from 5. - 7. April 2019. The 840 km drive by car from Stuttgart, via Pilsen and Prag, of course is a little bit long, but I enjoyed the trip. I stayed one night in Pilsen and visited the Salzmannu restaurant, the oldest in town from 1637, with the world famous Pilsner Urquell beer. In addition, there was a chance to see a so-called 4DX film at Cinema City in Pilsen. "Dumbo" was running, only in 2D, but with special effects in the auditorium. Wind, Rain, Flashing lights, Low Bass Sound and movable chair series within the scenes of the picture. I was the only one visiting the evening show. The chairs and other effects were not in operation on the other empty seats.|
From Pilsen I did not take the long autobahn route via Prag, Brün and Olmütz to Krnov. I prefered the shorter route via Pardubitz and Zemberg near the Polish border and the well known ski-area to Krnov. After the arrival on Thursday evening, there was a meeting with some other 70mm fans for a dinner and later on we met on a a small warm-up program at the Kino Mir 70 where Pavel was showing us some 70mm single reels including "The Sound Of Music", with the scenes from Salzburg and the "Do-Re-Mi" song, also a Russian blow-up reel of "Unter Geiern" a German Karl May production from 1964 with Stewart Granger and Elke Sommer filmed in Ultrascope with dubbed Russian dialogues and very good picture quality. I could not find out if the sound was in multichannel Stereo, since there was only dialogues scenes with no music. Next came one reel of "Spartacus" with different external synchronized multi channel sound and languages. This was a test of Ivan Skoluda's system used later during the festival program.
The festival officially started on Friday 13.30h with "Front Beyond The Front Line" a Russian 70mm production from 1977 filmed in Sovscope 70 and presented in 6-track magnetic sound in original language with English and Czech subtitles from the computer, played back with the video projector. The film was a little bit long (174 minutes plus intermission) and told the story of World War II during the winter 1943 in Russia with partisans against the Nazi frontline. There were Russian spies for the Germans and vice versa. So after a while, it was not easy to follow the story and who was who. All the German soldiers talked in German, but were overdubbed into Russian at the same time. This propaganda film was not very well attended by the public, but for school kids, it was mandatory to see it in the first run. Of course, the partisans won at the end with many casualties and moved forward to Berlin. The picture quality was not as good as any Kodak material; it had the typical steaks within the frame and in many scenes a green touch but not color fading into red.
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|After a short intermission, "The Rose" in a 70mm blow-up print from Australia with 6-track magnetic sound and Czech subtitles was shown at 17.00h. There was some color fading to red, but no jump splices with missing scenes and little signs of wear. The Sound was typical Dolby A mix with dialogue in the centre channel only.|
Friday evening at 20.00h the new mayor of Krnov was a special guest with expressions of thanks for the organizer of the festival, especially to Pavel Tomesek the founder of the festival. During the whole film festival there was a simultaneously translation by Barbora Stevanova via headphone in English for the foreign festival guests.
After the usual introduction, "Lord Jim" filmed in Super Panavision 70 and presented with 6-track Dolby SR magnetic sound was showing with a fine print, made some years ago. It was also synchronized with Czech subtitles thanks to Ivan and his special system. The Dolby sound was a little bit abrasive, maybe it was not SR encoded, even if it said on the film cans. The dialogue sounded somehow as some kind of automatic level control was in action. There was no intermission in the print. After the almost sold out show at late evening the well-known cold buffet was set up for the many festival guests. This year there were more visitors buying a weekend pass compared to former events.
On Saturday, it was time to get up early for the 9.00h show of "The King And I" a 70mm blow-up print from CinemaScope 55 negative with 6-track magnetic English sound and Czech Subtitles. It was a good preserved print with some fading into red and intermission, entr’acte-and exit music. Always nice to see and hear Yul Brynner in his parade role, while Deborah Kerr was dubbed by Marnie Nixon in the songs. After "The King and I" there was a lecture by Ivan Skolunda from Banska Bystrica about the numerous challenges to show "Around the World in 80 Days" in 35mm Cinestage format. This is similar to CinemaScope format, but has only a compression factor of 1:1,57 instead of 1:2. So Pavel was experimenting with different optical lenses including a mirror anamorphic from many years ago, but it did not fit to the Meopta projector due to the size. At the end, he came up with three lenses mounted in one plastic tube especially fabricated by a printer. "Around The World" was planned to show in 70mm with 30 frames/second, but there were only three reels delivered. So after the lecture these two reels were shown with many splices and color fading, but for the first time, the Meopta projector was electronically converted to run 30 frames pr. second. Before the bullfight started in the second reel, there was another bad splice and the rest of the reel was not run.
|After this exciting event, Thomas Hauerslev from Denmark started his lecture "Todd-AO - How everything started" with many stills and drawings shown on the screen. In addition two short features "CineSpace 70 / ClearVision 2000" filmed in 65mm 30 frames/second by Todd-AO and "As Good as it Gets" another demonstration filmed with the ARRI 765 camera at 24 frames pr. second.|
There was not too much time to get a goulash soup from the catering service in the foyer. At 14.30h "Around The World In 80 Days" started with a French 35mm Technicolor Cinestage print with 4-track magnetic sound. With the selfmade optic, the picture was not so good in focus on the right side of the screen in long shots, but on close ups it was OK. The sound came from the computer again in English from DVD 5.1 source along with Czech subtitles. This was the long version with the Méličs scenes of "Jouney To The Moon" from 1902. It had an intermission, entr'acte music and the long end titles.
While "Armageddon" was starting at 18:15h I met Paul and his wife Peggy from USA, Thomas and Orla from Denmark in the nice Hermes Greek restaurant for dinner.
The late show on Saturday began at 21.30 with "Phantom Thread" a 70mm blow-up filmed in Panavision 1,85:1 spherical and played back with 6-channel DTS original soundtrack with sub-titles as done before. Daniel Day-Lewis portrays a renowed dressmaker whose life is disrupted by a strong-willed young woman, Alma who becomes his lover. This Paul Thomas Anderson Film from 2017 had good picture quality and nice photography. Also the blue touch in the more darker scenes thanks to FotoKem Los Angeles.
Early Sunday Morning at 9:00h "Big Horn - Ein Tag Zum Kämpfen" (Original Title "Custer Of The West") was not shown in the original German dubbed version, rather in a mixture of original music and sound effects taken from the German print. The English dialogues in 3 channel mono sound from BluRay disc mixed into the program via computer playback synchronized with the picture from the Meopta projector. Absolutely in sync, even if there were sometimes frames missing in the picture, thanks to the three weeks work effort of Ivan. First, he had to record the complete film with picture and 6-track magnetic sound to the computer, compare it with the English BluRay disc and make the corrections whenever it was necessary. The 70mm Technirama print had left very good picture quality with some fading to red, but little blue and green left. With overture, intermission, entr'acte music it was a real road show presentation.
|The same procedure was done with "Erster Sieg" another German print of "In Harms Way". A very good blow-up from Panavision anamorphic black and white negative. This time Ivan synchronised the English DVD sound per computer with the projector. The 165 minutes film had no intermission.|
After "Harms Way" most of the visitors left the festival, because "Armageddon" was showing the second time at 16:30 and only about 12 people, including me attended the show. This very nice 70mm blow-up print came from Italy, but the first reel was missing. So with the help of Ivan again, he was synchronizing reel one from the computer with the recorded picture and sound from a BluRay disc, including change over signs and some slight signs of use in the digital picture. So at the end the print with Italian language and missing reel was shown completely as it would have come from the USA. The digital effects, also the soundtrack was very exciting.
After this last show, the delegation from USA, Sweden, Denmark, Italy and Germany said goodbye to Pavel Tomesek and his team Ivan Skoluda, Michal Jaso and the two Martins and left for a dinner at the Hotel Cvilín in the hills of Krnov. It was a very nice evening with a lot of talks about the festival and 70mm. Many thanks to the organisation of the Kino Mir 70 and next year the festival will be in his 15th year running in March 2020 for 4 days. Do not miss it!
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