NYFF2011: DAY 1 – New Restoration Of Nicholas Ray’s ‘We Can’t Go Home Again’

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We Can’t Go Home Again

Directed by Nicholas Ray

Screenplay by Nicholas Ray

1976 – USA

Rain isn’t stopping reviewers and critics alike from getting their first tastes of the 49th annual New York Film Festival. With cups of coffee readily in hand, the New York mentality is definitely in the air as the festival is showing the domestic debut of the restored version of  We Can’t Go Home Again, the final film of Nicholas Ray compiled by his students in the early 1970s at SUNY Binghamton right here in upstate New York. More of a “behind-the-scenes” experiment as Ray documents his group of novice filmmakers making a feature film, the film aims in capturing history through a time of liberation and expressionism.

Filmed through unconventional methods, including multi-frame projection and colorized saturations, the film surely reflects its time period through its chaotic means. Released by Oscilloscope Laboratories and supervised by his wife Susan, Ray’s last film is quoted in being a “bold style that defied all his previous work “. We Can’t Go Home Again will be showing at the festival Sunday, October 2nd at 9:00pm. To learn more about this last testament by a great director, check out the film’s page on the New York Film Festival’s site. Read below for the full official synopsis:

“A decade after quitting Hollywood, legendary director Nicholas Ray (Rebel Without a Cause, In a Lonely Place) accepted a teaching contract at Harpur College in Binghamton, NY. There, with the intensive collaboration of his students, he began work on a project unlike anything he had done before, the making of which would consume his creative energies for the remainder of his life. Entitled We Can’t Go Home Again, that film is Ray’s enormously ambitious, profoundly personal, wildly experimental magnum opus—a collection of notes on Vietnam-era America, the generation gap and the filmmaking process itself, conceived in a dizzying kaleidoscope of split screens, superimpositions and other radical image manipulations that anticipate later trends in video art and digital effects. After rushing to complete the film for its premiere at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival, Ray continued to re-work We Can’t Go Home Again until his death from lung cancer in 1979.

On the occasion of Ray’s centenary, we are proud to present the most complete version of this one-of-a-kind film in a stunning digital restoration undertaken by Ray’s widow, Susan Ray, President of The Nicholas Ray Foundation, in close collaboration with the EYE Film Institute Netherlands and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Academy Film Archive. Restoration funding provided by EYE Institute Netherlands, Academy Film Archive, RAI, Gucci and The Film Foundation, La Cinematheque Francaise, Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, Museo Nazionale del Cinema (Torino), and Cineric, Inc. North American premiere. An Oscilloscope Laboratories release.”

– Chris Clemente

Visit the official website for the New York Film Festival

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