Restoring Film Gems, Pre-Code or Political

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As the New York Film Festival slides into its final weekend on Friday, the fall’s other major cinematic event opens on Thursday, just a few blocks away. Celebrating its 10th anniversary, “To Save and Project,” the Museum of Modern Art’s international celebration of film preservation, offers a dense and varied collection of films that feels like a festival in itself — one that, unlike most, isn’t subject to the tyranny of the present.

The program reaches back to 1907 for a hand-colored short, “En Avant la Musique,” by the Spanish-born Segundo de Chomón, Georges Méliès’s great rival in the early cinema of special effects, to be shown as part of a group of films from the National Film Museum in Turin, Italy, on Nov. 3. And it approaches the current day for “Uprising,” a 2012 compilation that Human Rights Watch assembled from images of the Arab Spring demonstrations (showing as part of a program observing Unesco’s World Day for Audiovisual Heritage, on Oct. 27).

In between are about 75 films from 15 countries, a vast assortment of work in practically every conceivable format, from Hollywood features to home movies. And yet, as hefty as the program may be, it represents a small fraction of the films rescued each year from physical deterioration or commercial neglect by the world’s archives, museums and those studios enlightened enough to take responsibility for, and pride in, the films on which their business was built....

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