Horace Jenkins’ recently restored 1982 landmark, “Cane River,” will make its New York premiere tomorrow as part of MoMA’s 16th annual international festival of film preservation, To Save and Project. A new 4K digital master by IndieCollect, scanned from a new 35mm print made by the Academy Film Archive with support from the Roger & Chaz Ebert Foundation, will be screened at 7pm on Friday, January 18th.
Shot in the “free community of color” known as Cane River in the Natchitoches Parish of Louisiana, this striking variation on “Romeo & Juliet” centers on a love story that blooms amidst the tensions between light-skinned, property-owning Creoles and the more disenfranchised, darker-skinned families descended from slaves. The entirely African American cast and crew pulled off an exceptional feat, though the film disappeared for decades after Jenkins’ sudden death at 42, following an extremely limited release.
Introducing tomorrow night’s premiere screening will be RogerEbert.com publisher Chaz Ebert, while members of Jenkins’ family will be in attendance, along with Sandra Schulberg, founder of the Independent Feature Project and of IndieCollect. Schulberg led the “Cane River” restoration team along with Israel Ehrisman. The colorist was Oskar Miarka and audio capture was done by ColorLab from the 35mm optical track.
Curated by Joshua Siegel, the festival is dedicated to celebrating newly preserved and restored films from archives, studios, distributors, foundations, and independent filmmakers around the world. The programming kicked off earlier this month with a tribute to Barbet Schroeder, which included the culmination of his “trilogy of evil,” 2017’s “The Venerable W.” Still to come are guest appearances by filmmakers such as Wolf-Eckart Bühler (“Pharos of Chaos,” “The Shipwrecker”) and Arturo Ripstein (“Woman of the Port”), as well as an illustrated lecture on color innovations in British silent cinema.
An exceedingly rare screening of André de Toth’s 1954 noir classic, “Crime Wave,” in a pristine 35mm print struck from the original camera negative, together with two merciless self-portraits of the film’s leading actor, Sterling Hayden, made at the end of his life, will also be among the highlights. Concluding the festival is the world premiere theatrical run of a new MoMA restoration: Ida Lupino’s 1950 melodrama, “Never Fear.”