Thursday, October 16, 2008

The restored vision of Edward S. Curtis

The anthropological Margaret Mead Film & Video Festival is coming up November 14th through 16th. At the opening night, they will screen a newly restored print of "In the land of the head hunters", by Edward S. Curtis (1914), along with live music by the Coast Orchestra. The entire program is on line here.

The New York premiere of the restored 35 mm print, will be on Friday, November 14th, at 7:00 pm, at the American Museum of Natural History. Found in a Chicago area dumpster in 1947, this silent-era melodrama, made by American photographer Edward S. Curtis and featuring performances by the Kwakwaka'wakw of British Columbia, has finally been restored with help of the UCLA Film and Television Archive. Set in a time when the First Nation peoples had not yet encountered Europeans, the film tells of Motana, the chief's son, who must overcome many challenges in the spirit and physical world to woo and win the lovely Naida, a young girl whose bewitching dancing has the power to save her from the evil Sorcerer. This film screens with live musical accompaniment by the Coast Orchestra, a Native American classical ensemble conducted by Timothy Long. After this, there will be a discussion with Chief Bill Cranmer and William Wasden, Jr. from the U'mista Cultural Centre.

The film restoration has been possible thanks to UCLA Film & Television Archive, in cooperation with the Field Museum. John Braham Score: Research Library, The Getty Research Institute. Performance Edition: David Gilbert, UCLA Music Library.

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