At midnight on Friday September 2nd, in the Sala Giardino (Lido di Venezia), the world premiere screening will be held of the restored copy of George A. Romero’s masterpiece Dawn of the Dead – European Cut [Zombi, 1978] (USA-Italy, 115’), in the version edited and curated at that time by Dario Argento for the European market with music by Goblin.
The screening will be introduced with a presentation by Dario Argento himself, who was the producer of the film, and by Nicolas Winding Refn, a great admirer of Dawn of the Dead and supervisor of the restoration in high definition.
Dawn of the Dead – European Cut, a cult horror film that gave birth to the modern iconography of “the living dead”, as celebrated in the TV series The Walking Dead, is part of the Venice Classics section of the 73rd Venice Film Festival (31 August – 10 September 2016), and will be screened in a version remastered in 4K, by Koch Media in collaboration with Norton Trust and Antonello Cuomo.
Dawn of the Dead [Zombi, 1978] is the second chapter in the four-part series created by George A. Romero in 1968 with the Night of the Living Dead, later followed by Day of the Dead (1985) and Land of the Dead (2005).
Dario Argento on Dawn of the Dead [Zombi]
“I am particularly pleased that Zombi is being re-released after so many years. Titanus, the distributor at the time, considered it a very strange film with too much action: the music was too extreme, they thought it would not be well received and I was a little scared myself by this terrible prophecy. I didn’t know what to do so I said: «Ok, let’s screen the world premiere in Turin, a city I love because that is where I filmed Deep Red; if it doesn’t do well there, we can do away with it». It was a Friday afternoon and I was rather terrified as I went to the theatre; but I remember seeing a lot of people as I walked over from the hotel and thought: so it can’t be going that bad!.. and in fact when I got there it was packed; I went in and thanked everyone for coming. The film was being shown after a lengthy series of mishaps in Italy: the censors made me cut out a lot of scenes, and as a result I withdrew it. They were asking me to cut far too much; I remember even thinking that the editing would no longer be comprehensible, so I made a series of small cuts, fixed it up a little, and was able to swing an emergency procedure (usually the censors take up to six months to review a film again). When the film was finally released it was forbidden to minors under the age of eighteen which, in my mind, was fairly serious, because we had conceived it for an audience of young people… I have a great memory of Zombi because it was so important for my career and for George’s as well”.
Nicolas Winding Refn on Dawn of the Dead [Zombi]
“I had always considered Dawn of the Dead, or Zombi, to be a clear example of great cinema, both innovative and outrageous at the same time. The most extreme and fascinating tale of American consumerism ever brought to the screen, there is nothing like it. I consider it a great honour to present the version restored in 4K of this masterpiece at the 2016 edition of the Venice Film Festival, which has always been important to me”.
Dawn of the Dead [Zombi] will be available next fall in Blu Ray 4K, Blu Ray and DVD for the Midnight Factory label, in a boxed set with additional contents that will include the other two versions of the film (Extended and Theatrical), also in high definition.