This week, Serge Bromberg, film preservationist and founder of Paris-based Lobster Films, hosted the world premieres of new restorations of Charlie Chaplin’s A NIGHT AT THE SHOW (1915) and THE BANK (1915) to audiences in New York and Los Angeles. Serge was kind enough to sit down with us to discuss his decade-long journey restoring Chaplin’s early work, including CHAPLIN AT KEYSTONE and CHAPLIN’S MUTUAL COMEDIES; the upcoming ESSANAY collection; and why his favorite film discovery is always “the next one.” Listen to clips from his interview below.
1. What sparked your interest in silent films and Chaplin films in particular?
2. You’re here to premiere your new restorations of two of Chaplin’s Essanay films: A NIGHT IN THE SHOW (1915) and THE BANK (1915). Tell us a little about what makes these two films special.
3. You have devoted countless hours to track down rare pieces of footage. What are you looking for? What would make a film element of no interest during the restoration process?
4. What is your favorite piece of lost or rare footage that you’ve found?
5. You have been collaborating on The Chaplin Project for over a decade. Now that you are wrapping up the Essanay film restorations, is this the end?
6. Chaplin shot the Keystone comedies, then the Essanays, and then the Mutual comedies, yet you decided to restore the films out of order. Why save Essanay for last?