Charlie Chaplin’s ‘Modern Times’ Still Packs Them In

Marlon Brando is also being celebrated at the Cinema Ritrovato festival, dedicated to rediscovered classics.

ROME — Charlie Chaplin’s “Modern Times” can still draw a massive crowd after 80 years.

An estimated 7,000 spectators packed Bologna’s Piazza Maggiore square to catch the 1936 classic starring Chaplin and Paulette Goddard in a restored version with live musical accompaniment on Saturday, as it opened the 30th edition of the Il Cinema Ritrovato festival dedicated to rediscovered gems.

Directors Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, Bernardo Bertolucci, Ermanno Olmi, and Cannes Film Festival artistic director Thierry Fremaux are among guests of this year’s 30th edition of Cinema Ritrovato, which will run through July 2.  Fremaux, who also heads the Lumiere Institute in Lyon, inaugurated a photo exhibition dedicated to the Lumiere Brothers, cinema’s most illustrious pioneers.

The Dardenne brothers Sunday night introduced the freshly restored copy of their 1996 breakthrough feature “La Promesse” (“The Promise”), on the timely topic of immigration in Europe. Bertolucci and cinematographer Vittorio Storaro (“Apocalypse Now”) will be reminiscing this week about Marlon Brando, whom Bertolucci directed in “Last Tango in Paris.” Brando’s sole directorial effort, the Western “One-Eyed Jacks,” restored by Martin Scorsese’s The Film Foundation, is also screening. Olmi will be presenting the world premiere of the restored print of his Italian peasant drama “The Tree of Woden Clogs,” which won the 1978 Cannes Palme d’Or.

The event is run by Italy’s Cineteca di Bologna, the prominent film archives known globally as a prime film-preservation entity. After dedicating more than a decade to the restoration of Charlie Chaplin’s entire oeuvre, it is currently working on a multiyear project to restore all of Buster Keaton’s films, in tandem with New York-based Cohen Media Group.

The first fruits of this collaboration, fresh restorations of Keaton shorts “The High Sign” and “Cops,” are screening Tuesday after Chaplin’s “The Kid.”

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