Established in 2007, The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project has maintained a passionate commitment to preserving and presenting masterpieces from around the globe, with more than two dozen restorations that have introduced international moviegoers to often-overlooked areas of cinema history. This collector’s set gathers six works, from the Philippines (Insiang), Thailand (Mysterious Object at Noon), Soviet Kazakhstan (Revenge), Brazil (Limite), Turkey (Law of the Border), and Taiwan (Taipei Story). Each title is an essential contribution to the art form and a window onto a distinct filmmaking tradition unfamiliar to many.
Films in this set
Jealousy and violence take center stage in this claustrophobic melodrama, a tautly constructed character study set in the slums of Manila. Lino Brocka crafts an eviscerating portrait of an innocent daughter and her bitter mother as women scorned. Insiang leads a quiet life dominated by household duties, but after she is raped by her mother’s lover and abandoned by the young man who claims to care for her, she exacts vicious revenge. A savage commentary on the degradations of urban poverty, especially for women, Insiang was the first Philippine film ever to play at Cannes.
Insiang was restored by the Cineteca di Bologna/ L’Immagine Ritrovata. Restoration funded by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project and the Film Development Council of the Philippines.
Mysterious Object at Noon
Apichatpong Weerasethakul brought an appetite for experimentation to Thai cinema with his debut feature, an uncategorizable work that refracts documentary impressions of his homeland through the surrealist concept of the exquisite corpse game. Enlisting locals to contribute improvised narration to a simple tale, Apichatpong charts the collective construction of the fiction as each new encounter imbues it with unpredictable shades of fantasy and pathos. Shot over the course of two years in 16 mm black and white, Mysterious Object at Noon established the director’s fascination with the porous boundaries between the real and the imagined.
Mysterious Object at Noon was restored in 2013 by the Austrian Film Museum and the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, LISTO laboratory in Vienna, Technicolor Ltd. in Bangkok, and Apichatpong Weerasethakul. Restoration funded by Doha Film Institute.
A child is raised in Korea to avenge the death of his father’s first child in this decades-spanning tale of obsession and violence, the third collaboration between director Ermek Shinarbaev and writer Anatoli Kim. A study of everyday evil infused with philosophy and poetry, this haunting allegory was the first Soviet film to look at the Korean diaspora in central Asia, and a founding work of the Kazakh New Wave. Rigorous and complex, Revenge weaves luminous imagery with inventive narrative elements in an unforgettable meditation on the way trauma is passed down through generations.
Revenge was restored in 2010 by the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, the Kazakhfilm Studio, the State Archive of the Republic of Kazakhstan, and Ermek Shinarbaev. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways, and Qatar Museum Authority.
An astonishing creation, Limite is the only feature by the Brazilian director and author Mário Peixoto, made when he was just twenty-two years old. Inspired by a haunting André Kertész photograph on the cover of a French magazine, this avant-garde silent masterpiece centers on a man and two women lost at sea, their pasts unfolding through flashbacks propelled by the music of Erik Satie, Claude Debussy, Igor Stravinsky, and others. An early work of independent Latin American filmmaking, Limite was famously difficult to see for most of the twentieth century. It is a pioneering achievement that continues to captivate with its timeless visual poetry.
Limite was restored in 2010 by the Cinemateca Brasileira and the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, Arquivo Mario Peixoto, Saulo Pereira de Mello, and Walter Salles. Restoration funded by Armani, Cartier, Qatar Airways, and Qatar Museum Authority.
Law of the Border
Set along the Turkish-Syrian frontier, this terse, elemental tale of smugglers contending with a changing social landscape brought together two giants of Turkish cinema. Director Lütfi Ö. Akad had already made some of his country’s most notable films when he was approached by Yılmaz Güney—a rising action star who would become Turkey’s most important and controversial filmmaker—to collaborate on this neo-western about a quiet man who finds himself pitted against his fellow outlaws. Combining documentary authenticity with a tough, lean poetry, Law of the Border transformed the nation’s cinema forever—even though it was virtually impossible to see for many years.
Law of the Border was restored in 2013 by the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project, Dadaş Films, and the Turkish Ministry of Culture. Restoration funded by Doha Film Institute.
Edward Yang’s second feature is a mournful anatomy of a city caught between the past and the present. Made in collaboration with Yang’s fellow New Taiwan Cinema master Hou Hsiao-hsien, Taipei Story chronicles the growing estrangement between a washed-up baseball player (Hou, in a rare on-screen performance) working in his family’s textile business and his girlfriend (Tsai Chin), who clings to the upward mobility of her career in property development. As the couple’s dreams of marriage and emigration begin to unravel, Yang’s gaze illuminates the precariousness of domestic life and the desperation of Taiwan’s globalized modernity.
Taipei Story was restored by The Film Foundation’s World Cinema Project at the Cineteca di Bologna/L’Immagine Ritrovata laboratory, in association with the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique and Hou Hsiao-hsien.