PRINT January 2016

Nicola Mazzanti

Chantal Akerman, Hotel Monterey, 1972, 16 mm, color, silent, 63 minutes.

CHANTAL AKERMAN sits in the row of seats in front of me. We are watching the restoration of her 1972 feature Hotel Monterey together for the first time. I’m all nerves. A few minutes into the film, she turns, a big smile on her face: “It is so nice,” she says, “the colors, the grain. It looks almost like 16 mm.” That was what we were striving for, I think, and I relax.

For several years now, my team at the Cinémathèque Royale de Belgique had been working with Akerman to restore all her films, to produce the best possible copies and make them available again, so that cinephiles around the world could take joy in her images once more. For some of her films, only a handful of copies existed. What few remained were scattered around the world and in mediocre or bad condition. Digital restoration had been the only viable option. Without need for further discussion, we knew we felt

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