A new digital restoration of famed Czech animator Karel Zeman’s Invention for Destruction (1958) (which was released in the United States in 1961 as The Fabulous World of Jules Verne) will premiere simultaneously in three countries on Friday, July 10. In the United States, the film will be shown at Museum of the Moving Image at 2:00 p.m. (with an encore screening on Sunday, July 12, at 2:00 p.m.), presented in collaboration with the Czech Center New York. The film will also screen at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival in the Czech Republic and at the National Museum of Cinema in Turin, Italy.
Invention for Destruction (Vynález zkázy) is based on Jules Verne’s nineteenth-century tale of a professor kidnapped by a band of pirates who want to use his invention to take over the world. A dazzling blend of live action and animation, with an eye-popping style based on engravings by Édouard Riou and Léon Bennett—illustrators of Verne’s novels—the film became a global phenomenon, playing in 96 cinemas in New York alone. Pauline Kael called it a “wonderful giddy science fantasy,” and noted that Zeman “sustains the Victorian tone, with its delight in the magic of science, that makes Verne seem so playfully archaic.” For more information about the Invention for Destruction and its restoration, view the Karel Zeman Museum press kit.
Tickets for Museum of the Moving Image’s screening are $12 ($9 senior citizens and students / $6 children 3–12) and free for Museum members at the Film Lover level and above. Advance tickets are available online at movingimage.us.
Invention for Destruction
FRIDAY, JULY 10, 2:00 P.M. AND SUNDAY, JULY 12, 2:00 P.M.
Dir. Karel Zeman, 1958, 78 mins. In Czech with English subtitles. World premiere of a new DCP restoration. Written by František Hrubin, based on the book by Jules Verne. With Lubor Tokoš, Arnošt Navrátil, František Šlégr.
The digital restoration of the film Invention for Destruction is a part of the project Restoring The World of Fantasy, a partnership of the Karel Zeman Museum, The Czech Film Foundation, and Czech Television. The aim of the project is within three years to digitally restore selected films produced by Karel Zeman to the finest quality, so it is possible to screen them in cinemas again and their reputiation will be revived. The project also aims to inform the public about the importance of digital restoration.
American expert James Mockoski (American Zoetrope) is supervisor of the digital restoration of the Karel Zeman films. The restoration is being led by main restorer Ivo Marák at Universal Production Partners (UPP), the reconstruction of the audio portion of the films is taking place in Soundsquare.