Colour restoration work at SASE


Before and after stills from Tor H Wistrand’s film A Visit to China and Korea in 1938

A few years ago, whilst researching information about a collection of films photographed in Asia, Nick Clark SASE Preservation & Production Manager found two films of exceptional interest in the Wistrand collection. Tor H. Wistrand was a Swedish diplomat who was able to visit parts of China, Korea and Indonesia that revealed many of the countries cultural treasures alongside scenes of everyday life.

The first film A Visit to Java, Bali and Sumatra, Angkor Wat and Bangkok, 1939 featuring Balinese Dance in the the late 1930s was shown in Bali and later at Busan, the Korean film festival alongside the second film of Korea A Visit to China and Korea in 1938. This caused a sensation in Korea as it was the earliest know film of Korea in Colour and made front page news in the country.  This astonishing colour film features many of China’s cultural treasures including Beijing’s Forbidden City and Summer Palace, the Temple of Heaven, the Ming Tombs, the Marco Polo Bridge, the Great Wall and the palaces of Chengde as well as amazing footage of Seoul. Life on the streets under Japanese occupation is also captured. Many activities are seen including markets, rickshaws, street children, a funeral and hundreds of camels and donkeys carrying heavy loads.

Recently we have been contacted by the Korean Film Archive for access to our restored copies.  These films have been scanned both at R3Store in London and in-house at SASE.  The colour restoration work was undertaken at SASE by Nick Clark to reveal these wonderful results. 

Watch the whole film here: