Cineteca Nacional de México is pleased to announce its first collaboration with Cannes Film Festival: in the 72nd edition of this prestigious European film event that starts next May 14, Cineteca will present a version of Nazarín (Luis Buñuel, 1959) restored by its own Laboratorio de Restauración Digital Elena Sánchez Valenzuela.
One of the most celebrated entries in Buñuel’s Mexican production, Nazarín belongs to Televisa S.A. de C.V. film archive. The film is going back to Cannes 60 years after being awarded the International Jury Prize, this time around as part of the Cannes Classics lineup.
The story of Father Nazario, Beatriz and Andara, three lost souls in search of divine grace, shook the film industry of its time because of the hard questioning it made to Christian faith and popular beliefs. As writer Carlos Fuentes said in its 2002 piece for Reforma newspaper “Nazarín: la pasión según Buñuel”, this film was considered “demeaning” by the Mexican government of the time due to the way it depicted life in the countryside, in quite a different manner to other —friendlier— movies that focused on folkloric images and nationalistic virtues.
This kind of criticism was nothing new to the Spanish filmmaker. In 1950 he received a similar backlash for the bleakness of Los olvidados. In the same way that film pointed to violence and underdevelopment in Mexico City, Father Nazario’s journey shows a religious society that has forgotten the true values that were supposed to be promoted by the Catholic Chuch: understanding, fraternity and love.
Restored by the Laboratorio de Restauración Digital Elena Sánchez Valenzuela in 2018, Nazarín’s 3K Scan and 3K Digital Restoration were made from the original 35mm image negative and positive materials preserved by Cineteca Nacional’s archive. Sound was taken from one of these positive prints. 135,761 total frames were restored. This film was also mastered in 2K for digital projection.
Since 2004, Cannes Classics is a section of the French festival. This year, it puts Luis Buñuel in the spotlight with three films: besides Nazarín, Los olvidados will be presented by the World Cinema Project, L’Immagine Ritrovata in collaboration with Fundación Televisa, Filmoteca de la UNAM and Cineteca Nacional, and L’Âge d’or (1930) will be presented by the Cinemathèque française.