IFFR 2023: Cinema Regained

23 November 2022

Film still: Sight and Desire (Eyes)


IFFR 2023: Cinema Regained

23 November 2022

Cinema Regained, our programme dedicated to living film history, is where restored classics and unknown masterpieces, documentaries about celebrated filmmakers, and experimental explorations of cinema's heritage meet and play. In this blog we’re announcing the first confirmed titles for this programme in our upcoming 52nd edition. Keep reading to learn more about the selection for our 2023 programme which includes the world premiere of a documentary from Mika Taanila and Sami van Ingen, the grandson of Robert Flahtery.

“It's incredibly rewarding and moving to see the different parts of this year's programme taking shape. The Cinema Regained programme promises to be a bold and adventurous exploration of the actuality of film history from all over the world.” 

- Festival Director, Vanja Kaludjercic

The Cinema Regained programme creates a sphere of collective remembrance for cinematic heritage, offering restored classics, documentaries on film culture, archival discoveries and more. Our previous edition of this programme featured a selection made up of Korean TV treasures, Indian star lookalikes, ČSSR New Wave cinema, and more. This year, the festival’s programme for cinematic heritage presents a myriad of discoveries. 

Originally from India, Rajendra Gour was Singapore’s pioneering independent filmmaker. From the experimental anti-war Eyes (1967), the lyrical city portrait Sunshine Singapore (1972) and his sole work as a screenwriter for the fiction feature I Want to Live, we’re presenting his complete existing filmography. 

From Mexico in 1970 comes René Cardona’s Santo contra los jinetes del terror, a monument of masked wrestling cinema which has been freshly digitally restored complete with previously unreleased scenes. Ömer Kavur was one of Turkey’s most celebrated contemporary filmmakers and is the subject of Fırat Özeler’s documentary Kavur, which has its world premiere at IFFR 2023. Accompanying the film is the first screening of a newly discovered 1971 short from Kavur, The Porter.

IFFR regular Mika Taanila and Sami van Ingen, the great-grandson of documentary grandmaster Robert Flaherty, bring the world premiere of Monica in the South Seas, an experimental documentary on the pursuit of Monica Flaherty to add sound to her father’s 1926 Moana, more than half a century after the film was shot. The result, Moana with Sound also screens.

Cinema Regained First Titles:

Kavur, Fırat Özeler, 2023, Turkey, world premiere

A woman embarks on a voyage of discovery into the oeuvre of her favourite director, Ömer Kavur, and finds audiovisual remains of his productions – shadows of a life in film. But as Kavur reminds us: maybe the moments that are not lived are much more important than the ones that are.

Monica in the South Seas, Sami van Ingen, Mika Taanila, 2023, Finland, world premiere

An elegant, ironic and melancholic essay on the vexing and perplexing nature of authenticity. Crafted from film and video recordings Monica Flaherty sourced for her work on a sound version of her father Robert’s 1926 docu-fiction film, Moana (also screening at IFFR 2023).

Santo contra los jinetes del terror, René Cardona, 1970, Mexico

A bunch of angry lepers escape from an institution, turn into outlaws and raid a town. Enter a good hombre with a silver mask: El Santo, who shall restore peace. A monument of Mexican masked wrestler pulp in its never-before-seen, original, erotic version.

The Porter, Ömer Kavur, 1971, Turkey, world premiere

A major discovery: an early exercise by Turkish grandmaster Ömer Kavur unearthed during the making of Kavur.

Sight and Desire (Eyes), Rajendra Gour, 1967, Singapore, international premiere

An exploration of sight – and its limits. A gorgeous mix of essay and delirium.


I Want to Live, M. Amin, 1970, Singapore, international premiere

Rahiman was forced into prostitution by her evil stepfather – but that doesn’t stop a decent policeman from falling in love with her. A social realist masterpiece that was considered a taboo-breaking progressive work in the 1970s for its nuanced portrayal of sex workers.


Sunshine Singapore, Rajendra Gour, 1972, Singapore, international premiere

A portrait of Singapore – which today looks stridently different, making this an important historical record.

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