Press Release

Press Release | Madrid, 06/06/2016

Bertelsmann Presents Digitally Restored Fritz Lang Masterpiece ‘Destiny’ in Spain

  • Historical color-tinting restored to legendary silent film
  • French DJ Raphaël Marionneau to provide musical accompaniment at Madrid’s Cine Palafox
  • Fernando Carro: “Culturally and historically significant works need protection”

Madrid, June 6, 2016 – Bertelsmann, the international media, services and education company, will present the digital restoration of the silent film classic “Destiny” by master director Fritz Lang at Madrid’s 18th German Film Festival from June 7 to 12. The film, which inspired famous filmmakers like Luis Buñuel, François Truffaut and Jean Luc Godard, will be shown on Saturday, June 11 at Cine Palafox. The French chill-out DJ Raphaël Marionneau, a member of Europe’s musical avant-garde, will provide the musical accompaniment.

Thanks to the digital restoration  , the silent movie created nearly a century ago shines in new splendor: its historical color-tinting and previously lost intertitles have been restored. The restoration of “Destiny” was carried out by the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation as the rights owner, and funded by the international media company Bertelsmann as the main sponsor; the result was premiered in spring 2016 at the Berlin International Film Festival. The restoration work took a good year to complete and was preceded by research in film archives around the world. In 2014, Bertelsmann and the Murnau Foundation had already digitally restored Robert Wiene’s silent movie classic “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”, which was also presented last year in Madrid.

“Silent movies are a fundamental part of our cultural heritage. As a creative company with a long tradition in the movie business, by sponsoring a prominent movie restoration we want to make it clear that culturally and historically significant works deserve and require protection”, said Fernando Carro, President Latin America and Spain of Bertelsmann and CEO of Arvato. He pointed out that Lang’s early masterpiece is part of the historic legacy of the old Ufa, the forerunner of Bertelsmann’s present-day production company UFA.

“Destiny”, filmed shortly after the First World War, is regarded as a reflection on the traumas of the war. Images as gloomy as they are fantastical tell the story of a young woman who must pass tests to reclaim her lover from Death. This haunting work established Fritz Lang as a leading director and earned him international acclaim.

“In 1921 Fritz Lang set new standards with ‘Destiny’, and created a universally celebrated masterpiece of Weimar cinema”, said Ernst Szebedits, Chairman of the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation. “For decades, the movie was only a shadow of its former self, because unfortunately no dyed copies from the 1920s had survived. Therefore, it is a great pleasure to introduce this outstanding movie from the Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau Foundation inventory in our 50th anniversary year. As with all major restoration projects, this is only possible in cooperation with partners. Thanks to the digital restoration, we can now re-experience this classic in movie theaters, at festivals or at home.”

About Bertelsmann
Bertelsmann is a media, services and education company that operates in about 50 countries around the world. It includes the broadcaster RTL Group, the trade book publisher Penguin Random House, the magazine publisher Gruner + Jahr, the music company BMG, the service provider Arvato, the Bertelsmann Printing Group, the Bertelsmann Education Group, and Bertelsmann Investments, an international network of funds. The company has 117,000 employees and generated revenues of €17.1 billion in the 2015 financial year. Bertelsmann stands for creativity and entrepreneurship. This combination promotes first-class media content and innovative service solutions that inspire customers around the world.