There’s been a bit of happy news recently. An Italian company, L’Immagine Ritrovata, the world’s only company that focuses on film restoration and digitalisation, is setting up shop in Hong Kong to help restore some of Hong Kong’s great classics.
This is the company that has done stellar work on films by Charlie Chaplin and Satyajit Ray, so it’s big news. They are currently working on John Woo’s legendary crime actioner, A Better Tomorrow (1986), with the film’s cinematographer Wong Wing-hang. It will be interesting to see A Better Tomorrow as it was originally intended to look. Budget constraints of the time prevented the filmmakers from realising their original vision.
You can read the full South China Morning Post report here.
A while ago, I wrote a newspaper article about film restoration, or rather the lack of, here in Malaysia. Researching for the story, I discovered that all our old Shaw Bros classics are archived in Hong Kong, and the rights are with Celestial Pictures. The TV broadcasters here have to pay quite a sum to screen the films. It’s a painful irony, and in the article, I expressed my hope that in the future, we could at least recover the rights to P. Ramlee’s films and perhaps restore them to their former glory, or as close to that as possible.