Bits & Pieces
Eye's Bits & Pieces collection is the result of a project in which short fragments of film are preserved as they are - incomplete and often unidentified.
Film archives regularly receive short excerpts of films that have long since been forgotten or lost. In most cases, these pieces are ultimately thrown away, because it is almost impossible (and extremely inefficient) to identify, register and complete them.
Yet such fragments can sometimes be so special that archive workers feel they cannot simply throw them away: this is how the Bits & Pieces collection started.
After 20 years and various curators, making Bits & Pieces (B&P) compilations has become a tradition for generations of archivists at Eye. There are now more than six hundred items and that number continues to grow.
The fragments are shown exactly as they came out of the can, without any context: no beginning and end, no translation. No item is edited or shortened.
The aim is to share with the audience the confusion and admiration of the archivist on seeing these images for the first time. The archivist is the one who finds and displays the material, but is not a filmmaker.
from title unknown to online identification
When Bits & Pieces started, it was simply not possible for many of these items to find out exactly which films they came from. This was especially true for film fragments that were suspected to be of foreign origin.
Times have changed and many fragments have been identified in recent years. However, there are still items that have resisted recognition. Now that we are gradually uploading all Bits & Pieces to a playlist on YouTube, everyone with an interest in silent film can try and solve these mystery snippets.
Bits & Pieces on YouTube