Scenes from restored Chinese films that are considered classics — The Cave of the Silken Web (1927).[Photo/Courtesy of the China Film Archive]
To avoid any temperature rise and other potential risks after the long journey, Wang didn't directly drive from Xi'an back to Beijing but chose an expressway service area in Baoding, Hebei province, as a transit station to transfer the reels to his colleagues, who were waiting for him in advance.
"Before scanning the reels to make a digitally restored version, we adjusted the temperature and humidity to the best state," says Wang, adding that they also adopted a slow-paced scanning method to avoid electrostatic friction.
Currently restoring a total of more than 450,000 cans of old films — respectively 250,000 in Xi'an and 200,000 in Beijing — the archive has conserved most of the classics that have occupied their distinctive seats in the history of Chinese cinema.
Some of the archive's most highlighted restored movies include The Cave of the Silken Web (1927), Woman Basketball Player No 5(1957) and The Eternal Wave (1958).
Li Tao, director of the archive's digital resource management department, says the restoration of old films has high academic value, allowing researchers to review the filming techniques and storytelling abilities of Chinese films from decades or even a century ago.