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The A.V. Club talked to Criterion technical director Lee Kline about the delicate process of re-hydrating the fire-damaged Apu Trilogy. Kline details the story of Criterion's work to find someone who had worked with burned negatives before, their collaboration with an Italian film lab, and the importance of a surviving film restoration culture industry.
Kline mentions that a lot of their trouble with this project was a distinct lack of skilled preservationists in the industry. Though the process to restore burned negatives was only recently developed, much of this restoration's success goes to the guy who thought to preserve the damaged film reels in the first place.