La Ciénaga (Lucrecia Martel, 2001)


The Story of Two Transfers

The first video master of the film was transferred in 2001/2002 by telecine in PAL system at Cinecolor Lab using noise/grain reduction preventing enjoy the theatrical and original look of the film. This version was presented on Argentine DVD and several worldwide broadcasters. In 2004, French TV channel ARTE rejected this video master for technicals issues (audio artifacts, video levels out of range, stains, scratches, dirt, dust, hairs, emulsion breaks, breaks correction joint, non-constant masks, swings, instability, lack of fixity). LITA STANTIC PRODUCCIONES hires GOTIKA (formerly CINEMA GOTIKA) to fix the video master. Sergio Rentero, director of GOTIKA, proposed to recreate on video the theatrical and original look of the film and a new transfer of the film was made on HD format without noise/grain reduction. Budget limitations prevent any restoration and remastering in HD. It was decided to perform that processes in PAL 25p and create by pull-down the NTSC version. GOTIKA decided to keep the RAW HD telecine on their servers for any future chance of finishing the job. In 2010, GOTIKA started the restoration in FULL HD of RAW HD telecine, and the restoration and mastering of the sound in 5.1 SURROUND. A first version is mastered in PAL for the release on DVD by the Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA).

The Third Time's the Charm

In 2012, GOTIKA decided to use its new scanning technology to scan the original assets and starts the final restoration and remastering of the film.
Title, credits, and graphics were digitally reconstructed and composited to match the original version. The film was color graded using the latest tools for digital intermediate to bring the original film's color back. The real-time primary and secondary correction allowed our professional artists to get close with the producers and directors intensions to relaunch the film with a quality that pretends to be exhibited worldwide. Typical film problems such as dirt, scratches, dust, warps, tears, flicker or missed frames were restored with proprietary and non-destructive solutions to get best quality and resolution possible. The film presented a high percentage of damaged frames that were digitally restored taking care of every frame, manually checked and technically supervised.
The sound was re-digitized and now becomes 5.1 SURROUND from an original stereo downmix using a proprietary audio signal process that removes noise, hiss, hum, clicks and crackle to suppress unwanted sounds and performs a full high-resolution up-conversion to remix 5.1 for cinema exhibition or HD broadcast.
The new FULL HD master is waiting its moment for reopening at cinemas.


Before/After | La Ciénaga (Lucrecia Martel, 2001) | Restored by GOTIKA


About aesthetic choices and filmmaking process

Interview with Hugo Colace, ADF, Cinematographer of the film. Directed by Lucrecia Martel, La Cienaga follows two families through a hot, muggy, summer in northwest Argentina. "La Cienaga doesn't obey conventional narrative rules," says Martel. "There is no hidden truth to be found by the heroes, nor is there any link between cause and effect in the events affecting two families. Rather than building up to a dramatic crescendo, the film proceeds through an accumulation of innocuous situations, which often lead to nothing, but sometimes end fatally." "All of the characters in La Cienaga feel extremely uneasy in the presence of nature;' says Mart. "I wanted to film landscapes that had no picturesque qualities. The natural surroundings are neither pleasant nor welcoming. I refuse to accept the commonly held romantic idea that nature rhymes with harmony."
Colace explains that it was the director who attracted him to the project. "She had done a short film that affected me very much —the story, the script and the way it was narrated," says Colace."I read the script for La Cienaga and was very interested in the story's climate —the different situations and unique ways she narrated the story and created moods. The visuals played a big part in evoking emotions." La Cienaga was filmed at practical locations in Salta in three small villages of Quijano, La Quebrada and El Dique Salta. Colace decided to shoot the entire movie with a lightweight Aaton 35mm camera and Kodak Vision 800T 5289 film.
"I wanted to use the same film for the whole movie;' says Colace. "I didn't want any differences in the structure of images;' says Colace. "The challenge was that a very big part of the film was in external places, so I had to use neutral density filters. We filmed in northern Argentina in January where you had extremely hot temperatures." Colace said he was able to move easily and quickly in daylight exterior scenes. For interiors, he augmented natural light, often relying on windows to motivate lighting faces. "I decided on the 5289 film because of the combination of camera equipment that's hand-held and the sensation the director wanted to achieve —a feeling of freedom of movement with hardly any artificial light." Colace said making the film with Martel was the great experience he had hoped for.

Article published on October 2003 in "In Camera" (Kodak Publication).