Long lost 1913 film of Jews in Israel restored (updated)
For 80 years, the movie “The Life of the Jews in the Land of Israel: 1913” was thought to be lost. The film, shot in prestate Israel in 1913, disappeared during World War I. In 1975, a copy was found in a private collection in the United States. However, when the cases were opened, it transpired that the film reels had disintegrated.
For years, Yaakov Gross – a documentary film director and researcher of Israeli films – searched for the missing film, but was left with a feeling of disappointment. Nevertheless, he never stopped believing that another copy would some day be found, “a copy that would shed light on the mystery of the lost film,” he said.
In 1997 his dream came true, and a copy was found in the archives of the French National Center of Cinematography (CNC). Four boxes containing 170 reels were found in the archives of the CNC, an agency of the French Ministry of Culture. But there were no identifying marks or documentation for the films.
Gross was called in to aid with identifying the films. Armed with the program of the movie from 1913, which he had found in the Central Zionist Archives in Jerusalem, he immediately understood that the missing movie had been found.
Now, on the centenary of the making of the movie, the Israel Film Archive at the Jerusalem Cinematheque has produced a digital version of the original using today’s most advanced technology, improving the quality of the soundtrack and images. The completely restored film will be screened next week as part of the 15th Jerusalem Jewish Film Festival (on Tuesday December 3 at 6 P.M.).
Here is film of the Jewish Quarter and the Kotel:
UPDATE: Here is an hour of it (h/t Bob Knot):