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The Brilliant Biograph wins FOCAL Award

The Brilliant Biograph has won the FOCAL Award 2021 in the category ‘Best Archive Restoration & Preservation Project’. These richly detailed images transport viewers back to around 1900, when cities such as Berlin, Amsterdam, and London were undergoing rapid growth. Of incomparable beauty are the shots of an enchanting Venice. The film can be watched free of charge on the Eye Film Player and is playing in cinemas around the world.

By Mariska Graveland01 July 2021

still from The Brilliant Biograph: Earliest Moving Images of Europe (1897-1902): De boulevard van Scheveningen
still from The Brilliant Biograph: Earliest Moving Images of Europe (1897-1902): De boulevard van Scheveningen

The Brilliant Biograph: Earliest Moving Images of Europe (1897-1902) is a magnificent compilation of recordings from the collection of the Mutoscope and Biograph Company, one of the first film companies. The images take you back 120 years in time to Venice, Berlin, and Amsterdam, letting you experience the excitement of the first film footage.

Some 50 films by the Mutoscope and Biograph Company held in the collections of Eye and the British Film Institute (BFI) have been digitally restored thanks to support from the European Committee. These one-minute time capsules – shot on 68mm nitrate – are renowned for their excellent resolution. The 68mm nitrate negative yielded some of the sharpest and most richly detailed images in film history; the black-and-white recordings in The Brilliant Biograph are among the clearest you will ever see.

The compilation has been screened in cinemas around the country and was selected for international festivals in Berlin, Rio de Janeiro, Shanghai, Pordenone, Copenhagen, Warsaw, Paris, Lyon, Istanbul, Sheffield, and Valencia.

still from The Brilliant Biograph: Earliest Moving Images of Europe (1897-1902): Irish Mail L.N.W. Railway Taking up Water at Full Speed
still from The Brilliant Biograph: Earliest Moving Images of Europe (1897-1902): Irish Mail L.N.W. Railway Taking up Water at Full Speed

About the FOCAL Award

The annual Focal Awards honour film archives, image libraries, producers, researchers, and service providers that work with archive films. The FOCAL International Restoration and Preservation Project Award won by The Brilliant Biograph is aimed at archives and/or technical facilities that have restored and conserved moving images from an archive for a project that connects a number of films together.

“The first images of Europe. They are touching, impressive and sparkling.”

NRC Handelsblad

“A stunning flashback in black-and-white.”

De Telegraaf

“Very sharp and detailed image that still astonishes after 120 years.”

De Filmkrant

still from Tjoet nja dhien
still from Tjoet nja dhien

Eye Film Player

With the Eye Film Player, Eye presents highlights from the film collection to a wide audience. You will find high-profile documentaries and films. Much of the selection is nowhere else to be seen online.

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still from The Brilliant Biograph: Earliest Moving Images of Europe (1897-1902): Een Kinderfeest op t eiland Marken
still from The Brilliant Biograph: Earliest Moving Images of Europe (1897-1902): Een Kinderfeest op t eiland Marken