More than 75 years after the end of World War II, the Nazis have suffered another defeat. The 1931 anti-fascist film Europa, thought to have been destroyed by the Nazi regime, has been rediscovered and restored, and will be shown in October at the London Film Festival.
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“We are delighted to have achieved the restitution of this remarkable work of art, lost for so long and believed to have been destroyed by the Nazis, but now available for audiences across the world to appreciate,” said Anne Webber, co-chair of the Commission for Looted Art in Europe. She went on to say the group “(hopes) this will lead to many other films seized by the Nazis being found and returned.” Note: Dune 2021 Streaming VF
The film was made by Stefan and Franciszka Themerson, a Polish couple who moved to Paris in 1938 and deposited copies of each of their five films at the Vitfer Film Laboratory there. According to the British Film Institute, the Nazis seized all of the films in 1940, and they were thought to have all been destroyed. Both of the Thermersons died in 1988, thinking Europa hadn’t survived the war, although Stefan Thermerson reconstructed a version in 1983 with some surviving stills. Note: BAC Nord 2021 Streaming VF
In 2019, their niece, Jasia Reichardt, learned that a copy of Europa was still in the German Federal Archives, called the Bundesarchiv, where it found its way after time spent in the Reich Film Archive and later the East German State Film Archive.
“The Bundesarchiv is committed to securing and protecting its collection of more than 160,000 films comprising over 1 million film reels as well as possible,” Bundesarchiv President Michael Hollmann said in a statement. “But in a few cases, we have learned that a film does not belong in our collection. We very much welcome the successful restitution of Europa and we hope that it will reach a very wide and interested audience.” Note: After – Chapitre 3 2021 Streaming VF
The fully restored film will receive its world premiere at the BFI London Film Festival on Oct. 6, with special guests attending who will discuss the film’s creation, loss and restitution.
Europa is based on a 1925 poem and uses a variety of avant-garde film techniques, including collages and photograms (images made by placing objects on photographic paper and exposing it to light).
In a statement, the BFI says the film worked to “translate words into a montage of images and ideas that articulate the horror, inequality and moral decline that the artists witnessed from Poland, with Europe at the edge of a precipice,” adding “it was among the greatest achievements of European avant-garde film of the time.” Note: Mourir peut attendre 2021 Streaming VF
A Lost Film Thought Destroyed By the Nazis Has Been Rediscovered
A film previously believed to have been destroyed by Nazis and lost forever has been re-discovered.
The film is called Europa and according to The Guardian, it’s an anti-fascist film that was seized by Nazis and later deemed lost forever. However, a copy of the film was discovered recently in the Bundesarchiv, one of Germany’s national archives. Note: Luca 2021 Streaming VF
“This is truly one of the most important film rediscoveries of recent years, a major lost work of the European avant-garde and an important affirmation of Stefan and Franciszka Themersons’ important contribution to cinema history,” Benjamin Cook, director of UK arts agency LUX, told The Guardian. Europa is set to receive a proper premiere next month at the London film festival.
Europa was created in 1931 by the Warsaw surrealist husband and wife director duo, Stefan and Franciszka Themerson. That it may have been lost forever gave Europa an almost mythical status in the world of cinema, according to The Guardian. Read More: ‘Elevator’ movie review: Kavin stars in horror movie
With it being lost, many have tried to remake the film based on what was known about it but obviously, that doesn’t solve the whole “this movie was seized and seemingly lost by Nazis” problem. However, in 2019, the Pilecki Institute explained to Themerson’s niece and heir, Jasia Reichardt, that its own research led it to believe a copy might be in the Bundesarchiv.
Europa is based on the 1925 poem of the same name written by Anatol Stern. The film uses photograms, which are film prints created by laying things on top of photography paper and exposing the print to light, and collages, as well as standard imagery. According to The Guardian, these techniques gave Europa the sense of horror and moral decline the directors were witnessing in real life in Poland, and today, the film is considered an “avant-garde masterpiece.