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Director: Mat Sentol and John Calvert
Runtime: 96 minutes
Language: Malay with English subtitles
Courtesy of Cathay-Keris Films
Mat lives on Ghost Island and practices as an amateur magician who constantly makes mistakes during his performances. One day at sea, he encounters a troupe led by a famous American magician, John Calvert, and invites them to perform at the birthday party for the King of Ghost Island.
The film is the only title in the Cathay-Keris catalogue jointly directed by Mat Sentol, and American magician and film actor John Calvert. It marked an early creative collaboration between Singapore and Hollywood and was the concluding film of the Mat series produced by Cathay-Keris.This restored version of Mat Magic screened at the International Film Festival Rotterdam (IFFR) in 2021.
The restoration of Mat Magic (1971) was made possible using a sole-surviving 16mm release print from the Asian Film Archive: Cathay-Keris Malay Classics Collection.
The print was affected with vinegar syndrome and contained numerous deep scratches on the emulsion and base. A lot of the splices made with tape and cement had deteriorated and had to be repaired to enable the process of digitisation. Damage from broken perforations, shrinkage and tears were uncovered, requiring extensive manual repair and reconstruction of many frames.
To digitally restore the film, 2,650 hours were spent on restoration work that included scratch removal, stabilising, deflickering, and colour correction. Additional audio processing such as noise, clicks, and hum removal had to be carried out to ensure a better auditory experience.
The film was scanned at 4K and restored in 2K resolution by L’Immagine Ritrovata in 2019 and completed in 2020.
The full Retrospective: Mat Sentol programme can be found here. Tickets will go on sale Friday, 29 March 2022.
Friends of AFA members may select the “Friends of AFA” option and enter your membership number if you wish to redeem your remaining complimentary tickets.
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