A documentary about film preservation and restoration would seem to have a self-selecting (and rather limited) audience. Yet Inés Toharia’s absorbing Film: The Living Record Of Our Memory possesses a trenchant instructiveness and sneaky emotional punching power for those willing to submit to its probing thesis.
Spanning both time and the globe, and full of all manner of fascinating narrative tangents, the film asks viewers to consider how diminished our world and thus our shared humanity would (or, darkly, will) be without the ability to retain and see films from different eras and cultures?
This is more than just a cinematic cri de coeur—it’s a standout work on its own.
10. Film, The Living Record of Our Memory (2023)
It’s impossible not to be moved by this passionate love letter to the medium of film and its singular abilities to witness, commemorate, connect, educate, and, yes, entertain. The Living Record is more than that, though: it’s also an urgent clarion call for better support of the infrastructure and people who preserve and restore the celluloid reels that contain so much of our history.
In two hours, it packs in a lot — perhaps even too much, because there is so much fascinating material here that it’s almost overwhelming to take it in all at once. The doc draws on a sweeping line-up of contributors who collectively illuminate every facet of the need for preservation and restoration, from archivists to filmmakers like Jonas Mekas, Ken Loach, and Costa-Gavras. Its scope is just as commendably exhaustive, featuring nuanced discussions of the dangers politics poses to preservation efforts, as well as the particular need for archives in formerly colonized countries to prevent “cultural amnesia.” Despite all the challenges it highlights, its tone isn’t hopeless, as the film draws strength from the tireless efforts of archivists and cinematic saviors like Martin Scorsese. It’s impossible to watch this and not come away affirmed or converted into similarly passionate champions of preservation.
Way back in the day, when Jacques Derrida was alive and pioneering postmodernism, he developed a pet theory concerning archival maintenance, mal d’archive: the fever of the archive. In English, we list this as the theory of Archival doubt. Essentially, while the manifest for an archive may list and enumerate many holdings, it’s a moment of doubt whether you can actually find the items the archive claims to hold. This theory affected me in 2011 when it was discovered that half the educational psychology videos Charles Evans Inniss claimed to possess were not in the collection. Somebody discarded them and failed to remove said titles from the catalog, thus encouraging the theory of archival doubt.
In writer-director Inés Toharia Terán’s Film: The Living Record of Our Memory, archival doubt is an issue film archivists run afoul of. Within the context of this deeply meaningful documentary, we learn that we have lost at least 25 years of silent films. There were all sorts of experimental and wondrous work that no longer exists. Why was this allowed to happen? As we learn from this wonderful film, it could be one of three reasons.
Click here for the full article at the Film Threat
At any given moment, cinema, the record of our remembrance of things past, is turning to dust. Tracking the international effort to find, preserve and restore what remains of that history, director Inés Toharia traveled the world to interview the guardians of our collective memory for her outstanding documentary, “Film, the Living Record of Our Memory.”
A range of international archivists lead us through the processes and history of film preservation. They are informative, down to earth, easily understood and very enthusiastic. How could you not climb onto their bandwagon? To quote Henri Langlois, “Film must be preserved, saved, and above all, shown.” The influence of old films on new filmmakers is incalculable. Toharia’s “Film, the Living Record of Our Memory” is a must see for anyone who has ever been dazzled by the sleight of hand that is a movie. Your appreciation for the art form and the dangers it faces will increase geometrically.
Click here for the full article at the Easy Reader
Inés Toharia Terán’s new documentary Film: The Living Record of Our Memory, comes at the viewer with a torrent of sounds, images, histories, curiosities, and loose ends. It pays homage to some of the oft-forgotten but still vitally important members of the filmmaking community. These include archivists, curators, and technicians who guarantee our film heritage is salvaged for future generations.
Film: The Living Record of Our Memory gives film lovers a renewed appreciation for the integral members of the community who are often relegated to the periphery beyond the Hollywood limelight. Toharia Terán readily highlights a panoply of avid cinephiles, filmmakers, archivists, and visionaries who comprise this global mission of kindred spirits. They are a rag-tag assortment of folks who make do sometimes with limited resources propelled by reservoirs of passion.
Click here for the full article at Pop Matters
Film, the Living Record pays
tribute to archivists and preservationists
working tirelessly (and
thanklessly) to beat back the death
of the medium they love. From technicians
to cinematheque programmers
hosting festivals dedicated to
nitrate (the highly volatile early film
stock that was famous for spontaneously
combusting, leading to
fires that burned off whole swaths
of silent film history), the documentary
makes heroes of cinema’s most
Like skilled vintners who can calculate the ideal conditions for aging a fine wine, preservationists are in the business of managing decay. Beyond the inevitable degradation of film stock itself (which is exacerbated when storage conditions aren’t perfectly attuned), film preservation is rarely afforded the money and attention such an expensive, and time-consuming, process demands. Click here for the full article
How much less might we know about the world without being able to watch films from different eras and different countries that we would or could never travel to? And to what extent should that reality inform a sense of global responsibility that extends beyond national borders when it comes to film preservation?
Those questions inform director Inés Toharia’s absorbing documentary Film: The Living Record of Our Memory, now playing in theatrical engagements via Kino Lorber, and give her movie an emotional power that shouldn’t come as a surprise for any true cineaste.
In part a celebration of the monastic profession of film archivists, laboring to preserve cinema for humankind’s future, the documentary is also a fascinating historical and sociocultural document on its own, spanning both time and the globe. Click here for the full article at the Golden Globe Awards
Inés Toharia’s documentary delves into the complex hows and urgent whys of film preservation and restoration.
There’s a documentary aspect to every film, whether it’s a home movie, a commercial or even the glossiest tentpole: The images and sounds capture transient moments that memorialize people, animals, places. They give permanence to the impermanent. But imagine a world in which those films have disappeared — as an estimated 80 percent of silent films and half of sound films already have. In the robust and incisive Film: The Living Record of Our Memory, Inés Toharia, a documentarian specializing in film preservation, invites us to consider the ways movies have become essential to the human experience. [..] Click here for the full article at Hollywood Reporter
Divided into four distinct chapters, “Film, the Living Record of Our Memory” (“Living Record”) delves into an overlooked and largely unknown area of movie history that, even many of those who consider themselves industry experts, will discover they are woefully uniformed.
Wasting zero time, writer and director Ines Toharia presents images of multiple film cans being opened and revealing their content. Most of it is nothing but dust, something that happens to film stock left too long in hot and humid storage rooms. The bulk of these are silent films that went ignored so long—80 percent of all ever produced are forever lost. Click here for the full article at The Epoch Times
A new documentary acts as a cautionary tale urging us to be more aware of how we store and preserve what we film and watch.
... “We’re going so fast as a society that we don’t always realize what we’re leaving behind,” she tells the Guardian from her home in Spain. “We should pause to think about saving our digital materials, because they don’t last forever. And a lot of video today isn’t even meant to last, things like security camera footage, a lot of what’s on YouTube. We’re producing more than ever, but we’re not taking care of it. A friend shows me a video of their kid taking their first steps, I think, ‘Oh, that’s not going to last.’” Click here for the full article at The Guardian
If you’ve ever bought a pass to an entire film festival just to see the restored Fritz Lang masterpiece “Metropolis” or Abel Gance’s “Napoleon,” ever driven across state lines just to catch the post-restoration re-release of “Lawrence of Arabia,” or signed up to a streaming service to ensure you wouldn’t miss the stunningly-preserved 1964 documentary epic “Soy Cuba (I Am Cuba),” you are the target audience for “Film, the Living Record of Our Memory.”
This broad and sometimes overwhelmingly thorough celebration of the unsung preservationists archiving and restoring the film heritage of countries, continents and the human race should be on any film buff’s radar. Click here for the full article at Movie Nation
Did you know that approximately 80% of all the silent movies ever made are completely lost? Whether they rotted away, went up in flames, were melted down for silver, or were dumped in the ocean, so many movies created at the very dawn of the medium are likely gone forever. Those that we do have the pleasure and privilege of being able to watch today — some more than 125 years old! — only exist thanks to the efforts of individuals who have dedicated their lives to preserving our cinematic past. Inés Toharia Terán’s new documentary Film, the Living Record of Our Memory shines a spotlight on these individuals and serves as a rallying cry for the importance of film archiving and preservation in our modern, digital world. Click here for the full article at Film Inquiry
In this multifarious introduction to motion picture preservation, a crowd of devoted professionals in the field hold up film as not just a vital art form but an essential record of humanity.
A canard of the internet age is that more movies are accessible than ever, but “Film, the Living Record of Our Memory” reminds us that our cultural heritage is ever-vanishing and requires constant care just to survive. In this multifarious introduction to motion picture preservation, a crowd of devoted professionals in the field hold up film as not just a vital art form but an essential record of humanity. Click here for the full article at New York Times
Film. The Living Record of Our Memory is an exciting mosaic
of the world, work, and perspectives of film archives. For
three years, Inés Toharia travelled through archives, FIAF
congresses, and heritage film festivals to gather material
that includes a hundred professional testimonies and
a selection of images that reveal the fragility of the cinematographic
The film begins with the birth of film archives in the 1930s and concludes with the digital dilemma derived from new technologies. The editing, however, is not chronological but includes such essential issues as preservation in the Global South, the identification of supposedly lost films, the closure of laboratories, the archives associated with museums, the re-evaluation of classic cinema thanks to television, alternative canons, and the use of archive images as historical memory.
This film should be screened in cinémathèques around the world because it portrays us, involves us, and shows not only everything that is part of our professional practice but also the philosophy that supports it. It is necessary to preserve the past in order to change the future. https://www.filmthelivingrecordofourmemory.com/media/jofp/ArticuloER_JOFP1.png
– Featuring interviews, excerpts from rescued films, footage from screening events, behind-the-scenes at remastering facilities, film banks, frames and images of film in various states of decay, this comprehensive documentary encapsulates the discussion with a similar precision to the laborious yet technologically-assisted art of film restoration.
– While this documentary will satisfy and reassure film industry professionals, movie buffs and historians, it’s surprisingly entertaining and engaging in spite of running almost 2 hours long.
– Keeping an upbeat pace, this niche film swirls between a myriad of talking heads, captivating visuals and rare artefacts, whilst delving into a fascinatingly intricate field of work with far-reaching historical implications and timely socio-political undertones.
Así llegamos al meollo del asunto (de verdad, que el viaje a través de Nosferatu merecía la pena): ¿quién cuida el viejo cine? ¿A quién le importa? A Inés Toharia, seguro. Toharia es experta en archivos fílmicos, y ha dedicado años a realizar un documental fascinante, Film, The Living Record Of Our Memory, una producción hispanocanadiense que se ha proyectado ya en la Seminci de Valladolid, la Cineteca de Madrid o la Filmoteca de Catalunya. Todo lo que yo pueda decir de este documental se quedará corto.
FILM, THE LIVING RECORD OF OUR MEMORY has been shortlisted for the final nominations at the FOCAL International Awards in 3 categories:
-- Best Use of Footage in an Arts & Entertainment Production.
-- Jane Mercer Researcher of the Year award: Adrian Wood (Archival Film Consultant).
-- Student Jury Award for Most Inspiring Use of Footage
The Awards Ceremony will take place in London on June 23.
Dentro de la sección Películas sobre Películas en el 23° Buenos Aires Festival Internacional de Cine Independiente (BAFICI) se presentó «Film, the living record of our memory» de la directora Inés Toharia, un completo recorrido a través del tiempo sobre la preservación de patrimonio audiovisual en el mundo.
También en: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VU133FEDYLw&t=352s
Especialista en preservacion y conservación de cine y fotografia, la realizadora de Film, the Living Record of Our Memory, que puede verse en este BAFICI, construye un registro monumental sobre el estado de la cuestión de los archivos filmicos en la actualidad. No hay barrera geográfica para la española Inés Toharia Terán que trabajó en algunos de los archivos que muestra: el de George Eastman House o la Filmoteca UNAM en México, por ejemplo.
Sorprendentemente inédito aún en España, el Mercado del Cine de Visions du Réel nos permite recuperar uno de los documentales más interesantes del año pasado.
Justement, Film, mémoire vivante de notre temps d’Inés Toharia aborde le champ du cinéma, dans l’optique du travail de la préservation des films. Sujet épineux s’il en est, en bout de ligne, quant à la formule idéale à adopter pour assurer la pérennité des œuvres qui, lorsqu’elles subsistent, sont souvent mal en point.
On the occasion of the film’s Swiss premiere at R7AL, the panel 'Saving Films' took place with: May Hong Ha Duong (Director, UCLA Film & TV Archive), Walter Salles (Film Director / The Film Foundation-WCP), Gérald Duchaussoy (Head of Cannes Classics, Cannes Film Festival, Festival Lumière), Claire Brunel (Managing Director, The Wim Wenders Foundation), Paolo Cherchi Usai (Curator, Cineteca del Friuli / George Eastman Museum / Pordenone Silent Film Festival), Caroline Fournier (Cinémathèque Suisse / FIAF), Alain Dufaux (EPFL Metamedia Center), Inés Toharia (Director of Film, The Living Record Of Our Memory).
"Before I begin, I would like to thank Inés for her sublime film which has allowed me to reconnect with Langlois, Eisner, and so many other anonymous heroes of film preservation who have enabled us to understand through films that the world is much larger and complex than we could image. So thank you, really thank you".
"Before ending, I would like to remember something Martin Scorsese said. In a letter, expressing his support to Cinemateca Brasileira, he wrote that culture and institutions that preserve memory are not a luxury but a necessity. It really is. And that is what Inés’ film brilliantly shows."
Dans le cadre des Rencontres 7e art Lausanne, la Cinémathèque suisse présente en première suisse le documentaire de la cinéaste espagnole Inés Toharia Terán, Film, the Living Record of our Memory. Comme son titre l’indique, cette œuvre raconte pourquoi le cinéma est en quelque sorte la trace vivante de notre mémoire et pourquoi il est dès lors essentiel de le préserver.
En lançant ce projet, il y a déjà un certain nombre d’années, la cinéaste prévoyait de faire une sorte de tour du monde des archives de cinéma, à la rencontre d’archivistes, de collectionneurs, de programmateurs et de cinéastes attachés au patrimoine. Mais elle ne s’attendait pas à la pandémie qui allait singulièrement compliquer, ralentir et rallonger son voyage. Néanmoins, sans jamais perdre patience, elle est parvenue à interroger des dizaines de témoins, parmi lesquels les représentants des archives privées et publiques les plus importantes au monde, ainsi que des cinéastes (très) impliqués comme Martin Scorsese, Ken Loach, Christopher Nolan, Wim Wenders, Walter Salles ou Costa-Gavras. Son voyage à travers le temps l’a également conduite aux quatre coins du globe, dans des pays où il faut se battre pied à pied pour qu’une archive de cinéma puisse exister, pour éviter que cette mémoire ne s’efface à jamais, comme en Afrique ou dans certains pays d’Asie. Et son film, in fine, nous montre combien ce patrimoine cinématographique est un jalon essentiel de l’histoire de l’humanité que nous tous, archivistes, devons préserver.
Click here for the full article at LaColeurDesJours
“El cine ens ensenya què hem fet malament. Ens permet mirar enrere i fins i tot reparar. Permet que aprenem del nostre passat.”
'Film, the Living Record of Our Memory' is a documentary depicting the ways in which film institutions, benefactors, artists, and technicians have made every endeavour to collect, preserve and restore films. Director Inés Toharia reminds us, by closely observing public archiving systems and personal archives' activities, that we are living in the age of discovery of priceless film treasures, which have been lost, faded, and forgotten.
After a year away we truly could not be more excited to announce that the Cambridge Film Festival award winners for 2021 are...
Golden Punt - COPPELIA (Jeff Tudor, Steven De Beul & Ben Tesseur)
Silver Punt - FILM, THE LIVING RECORD OF OUR MEMORY (Inés Toharia)
Crystal Punt - GEORGIA (Jayil Pak)
Film, The Living Record Of Our Memory (a highlight of the 12th edition of DOC NYC) features insightful commentary from filmmakers Ken Loach, Jonas Mekas (Todd Haynes dedicated The Velvet Underground to Jonas), Kevin Brownlow, Fernando Trueba, Costa-Gavras (President, La Cinémathèque Française), Patricio Guzmán, Ahmad Kiarostami (producer for Abbas Kiarostami), Idrissa Ouédraogo, Martin Scorsese, Bill Morrison, Ridley Scott, Nicolas Rey, Wim Wenders (on music rights and restoration), and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro.
A deep dive into the world of film archives and individual archivists, this film tracks the history of film preservation from its nascent stages, when the very notion was thought frivolous, to the present day when organisations like the BFI maintain vast facilities lined by row upon row of film cannisters. The archivist’s gift and ambition – to unearth lost treasures to expand the film canon and uncover obscure histories - is highlighted by glimpses of recent prize discoveries, such as Mother Dao and directors like Albert Samama Chikli and Germaine Dulac (any hungry film fan will want to set about hunting them down).
Watched a few of DOC NYC's offerings, but "Film, the Living Record of our Memory" was the only one that really made a personal impact. Reminded me of why I fell in love with movies in the first place.
Hablamos con Inés Toharia, directora de 'Film, the living record of our memory' sobre películas y conservación del pasado.
Film nerds, rejoice! One of this year’s gems is on a mission aligned with most large film festivals. Film, the Living Record of Our Memory gives motion picture historians, restorers, and archivists their due and a place in the sun.
Film, the Living Record of Our Memory, at DOC NYC is an extensive, well organized, detailed, engrossing and frightening look at the importance and growing problems of film decay, restoration and storage on an international basis. Director Ines Toharia has travelled the world interviewing film archivists including the late Jonas Mekas of Anthology Film Archives in New York, movie directors. These interviews bring up issues that are simultaneously fascinating and disturbing.
Looking for a career path in film, journalism, the art world? Senior critic Kurt Brokaw advises three keen directions from America’s largest documentary festival.
A estreia mundial mais certeira da recém-encerrada 45ª Mostra Internacional de Cinema em São Paulo foi o documentário “Filme, O Registro Vivo de Nossa Memória”, uma co-produção hispano-canadense dirigido por Inés Toharia Terán. Tudo que você precisa saber sobre a importância das cinematecas e centros de restauro de filmes encontra-se em suas duas horas, com entrevistas de cineastas, curadores e profissionais especializados dos cinco continentes.
The most certain world premiere of the recently closed 45th São Paulo International Film Festival was the documentary “Film, the Living Record of Our Memory”, a Spanish-Canadian co-production directed by Inés Toharia Terán. Everything you need to know about the importance of cinematheques and film restoration centers can be found in its two hours, with interviews from filmmakers, curators and specialized professionals from five continents.
Através das vozes de renomados profissionais que têm contribuído para a sobrevivência e acessibilidade de imagens em movimento, o filme destaca a importância da preservação fílmica que nos permite assistir hoje a imagens que foram feitas há mais de 125 anos.
Esse documentário atualíssimo de 2021, de Espanha e Canadá, criado e dirigido por Inés Toharia, é notável. Não só para quem trabalha com preservação documental, mas para o público em geral.
El documental ‘Film, the living record of our memory’ reivindica la labor callada de los custodios del cine.