Founded in 2007 and overseen by Martin Scorsese, the World Cinema Poundation (WCP) has spearheaded efforts to preserve, restore, and annually re-present neglected masterpieces of world cinema, particularly those from areas of the globe that have not traditionally been highlighted in prevailing evaluations of film, or which have lacked the financial, technical, or governmental infrastructure to ensure their preservation.
As the WCP’s mission statement announces: “Cinema is an international language, an international art, but, above all, it is a source of enlightenment. There are wonderful, remarkable films, past and present, from Mexico, Eastern Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, and Central Asia that deserve to be known and seen. Composed of filmmakers from every continent, the World Cinema Foundation breathes life into the idea that when a cultural patrimony is lost, no matter how small or supposedly ‘marginal’ the country might be, we are all poorer for it.”
The Masters of Cinema Series is proud to act as the official partner of the World Cinema Foundation for the UK region. In this first in a regular series of Blu-ray box sets, we present the WCF’s restorations of masterpieces from Turkey (Erksan’s Dry Summer), Morocco (El Maanouni’s Trances), and Kazakhstan (Shinarbaev’s Revenge), with exclusive introductions by Martin Scorsese for each film in this set.
A brutal naturalist melodrama, Metin Erksan’s masterful Dry Summer, which won the Golden Bear at the 1964 Berlin Film Festival, returns to the spotlight in a new restoration after decades of suppression by Turkish authorities: an arid fate for one of the most exciting films of the 1960s. Viscerally tactile, unsparing, and even on occasion outright lurid, Dry Summer has been described by filmmaker Fatih Akin as “one of the most important legacies of Turkish cinema.”
The inaugural film of the World Cinema Project’s efforts, Ahmed El Maanouni’s Trances is a picture unlike any other: a poetic, roving documentary-portrait performance-film based around the Moroccan band Nass El Ghiwane.
Set largely in Korea and China, and spanning the 1910s to 1940s, Ermek Shinarbaev’s epic masterpiece Revenge unites the resonant pictoriality of certain Far Eastern cinema with a mysticism rooted in the Russian tradition: a fitting and harmonic convergence for this collaboration (one of three) between the Kazakh director and Korean-Russian writer Anatoli Kim.