Honorary Award

One of the most rewarding, if not the best known or most highly valued tasks in the field of culture, is the restoration of old works. In all areas of the history of art, from painting to sculpture, including photography, drawing and sound recording, it is possible to find people and institutions which, with almost surgical precision, restore works which have deteriorated due to the ravages of time, accidents and deficient storage conditions, often to the extent of making them unrecognizable.

Restoration calls for a knowledge of many different disciplines: from chemistry and physics to biology, computer science as well as a good literary and historical background. Restoration is a discipline in itself but also a technique that, with each new work, aspires to mitigate or alleviate the destructive havoc of time with a view to allowing us to appreciate what used to exist. Therefore, it is an art that aspires to bring artworks back to life and to revive them so that they can continue to enrich our enjoyment and knowledge.

This year, when it came to deciding on its honorary award, the Muestra de Cine de Lanzarote chose to eschew famous film directors and actors in order to shift the focus to the other people and professions who make the complex, diverse ecosystem of filmmaking work, but who are not well-known faces on TV screens or not usually seen on the red carpet; essential professions without which culture or filmmaking would not be able to exist, but which are not always known by the general public. For that reason, in this year’s festival, Muestra de Cine de Lanzarote decided to give its honorary award to L’Immagine Ritrovata, widely recognized as the most important and advanced film restoration laboratory in the world.

Founded and developed under the auspices of Fondazione Cineteca di Bologna as a laboratory dedicated exclusively to film restoration, L’Immagine Ritrovata is now a world-leading centre thanks to the development of new methodologies and lines of research. Among the many works it has restored are historically important films by Charles Chaplin, Fritz Lang, Roberto Rossellini, Satyajit Ray or the Lumière brothers. Thanks to the passion, dedication and care of all those who work at the laboratory, a multitude of negatives on the verge of being lost forever have been restored and digitalized in high definition. While restoration largely relies on high-precision techniques and science, when one sees the results of the restored films it almost seems to be more the outcome of magic or a miracle. A miracle that allows us to enjoy films today that, up until a short time ago, were on the brink of vanishing forever.