<< I hesitate to even ask this because I am afraid of getting flamed, but
couldn't you argue that having a BAD copy (albeit soft focus, poor
transfer, dark/murky image, splices, et al) is better than having NO COPY
at all? >>
Well, I'm not the flaming kind -- don't even carry matches with me. It's a
legit question and yes, I do have some terrible bootleg copies of films on
video for reference and in fact, it's inspired me to purchase the rights to
films and do something about it. Woman in the Dunes is definitely a case in
However, beyond the moral issue of buying illegal materials which I feel
should be considered, to represent a film to the public or student body can
a) misprepresent the artist's intentions and b) ruin the esthetic experience
of watching a film or worse, badly damage the institution's reputability and
their goal to educate the public.
I'm even willing to admit that showing a beautiful copy on DVD to VHS to
students can be a worthwhile endeavor and the lack of good 16mm and 35mm
prints is forcing the issue. But my first experience in a film class --
watching a bad 16mm dupe of Birth of a Nation without a score and at 24fps,
caused many students to walk out of the class and not come back and made me
question the integrity (and intelligence) of the teacher.
And now you know the simple answer to why I went into film restoration!
Milestone Film & Video