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My First 70mm

The 70mm Newsletter
Written by: Anna-Franziska Rudschies, Zurich Date: 24.09.2008
Anna in Schauburg Kino's courtyard in October 2008. Image Thomas Hauerslev

„Please tell us what your first 70mm film was“ was one of Thomas Hauerslev’s kind requests at this year’s 70mm festival in the Schauburg [October 2007, ed].

Sounds like an easy thing to do, but is it really? Since I first went to Bradford in 2000, I’ve seemingly seen a huge amount of films in 70mm and it was pretty hard remembering the first movie they showed in Bradford that year. Then it dawned on me... I didn’t actually see my first 70mm film in Bradford, there was one experience preceding that particular festival.

So strictly speaking, the first film in 70mm I ever saw was a restored copy of “Vertigo”, in the “City Cinema” in Munich. Strictly speaking, you ask? Either she did or did not see her first 70mm then and there! True, but... cinema is a passion for me. It’s a love that will never die or fade. 70mm is that love and passion catapulted to a whole other level. If it were physically possible to make love to a film format, this would be the one I’d choose.
More in 70mm reading:

As Good As It Gets

My first encounter with 70mm film

Gaumont, Manchester, England

Internet link:

And as with anything to do with love, you have to learn certain things, get used to them, practice a lot. “Vertigo” was wonderful. It was on a huge screen (non-curved though), with stereophonic sound (!), great colours and scalpel-sharp images. But “Vertigo” was only a trial kiss.

You see, many girls don’t tell this, because we like to pretend we’re secure and know everything. But unless our first kiss is Hollywood-love-story-first-kiss-material (odds: slim to none), we’ve secretly practiced a little beforehand. Strictly speaking therefore, I had my first kiss on a boat in Italy, with a girlfriend. Yet do I count that kiss as my first kiss? Of course not. My real first kiss happened by a swimming pool we’d snuck into at night. And so it goes that I do not count “Vertigo” as my first 70mm experience.
My real first 70mm kiss was given to me in Bradford, by Ken Annakin, so to speak, with his “Magnificent Men in their Flying Machines”. I was hooked from the first minute. Yes, the copy was colour-faded, yes it was a bit old and scratched, but a film where I have to physically move my head from side to side to see the whole picture?

A curved screen made especially to encompass all that beauty, all that fun, all that 70mm? Wow. After that and since then, I’ve sailed on the Windjammer, I’ve won the West, I’ve fought an evil AI computer and I’ve gone into battle alongside General Patton, to name only a few awesome 70mm experiences. 70mm is more than just a format, a number. 70mm swallows you whole and it never ceases to amaze me how films I’ve found boring or didn’t understand suddenly gain my love and my understanding once I’ve seen them in 70mm. “Patton” was just another war movie and “Spartacus” just another peplum, “2001: A Space Odyssey” never made any sense to me until I saw them all, as they should be seen.
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Updated 21-01-24