Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

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twicebilled
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#251 Post by twicebilled » Fri Jun 13, 2014 10:54 am

Is this touring anywhere else in the next few months? I can't seem to find any information on more screenings.

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MichaelB
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#252 Post by MichaelB » Fri Jun 13, 2014 11:03 am

Screenings are as rare as hen's teeth - even in London (which I think has hosted more screenings of the Brownlow restoration than anywhere else) they typically come around once a decade. And I suspect anything coming up will be mentioned here.

adrianstm
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#253 Post by adrianstm » Sat Jul 26, 2014 12:26 am

Hello,
I have been reading this forum for some time and I thought I should share my research.
Recently I stumbled upon a fragment of the sound version of Napoleon 1927 on daily motion. The fragment of the sound film is the first version, made in 1934, and I have been able to find only one other fragment. Both fragments are in French, though even if you do not speak French it is more or less the same as the silent version's intertitles. I also strongly agree with what Ann Harding said about the 1934 sound version:
I recorded this 1934 version. Oh God! What a disaster... Gance destroyed his own masterpiece with gusto. He shot new scenes which are so static it feels like an Edison film of 1900. He re-edited some of the silent footage with some (vaguely) synchronized dialogue and added some extra footage to some. It's hard to take seriously the new 'Three Gods' scene with an ageing Van Daële (Robespierre) and toothless Artaud (Marat), both chewing the scenery like mad in claustrophobic close-ups. If you want my advice: avoid at all cost!
The 1st fragment is located here http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xww0ip ... ais_webcam" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
The 2nd fragment is located here http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xy0r23 ... aud_webcam" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The version of Napoleon 1927, that I have, is the Kevin Brownlow restoration from 1983, which aired on TV, with Carl Davis’s score, without the triptych ending, and Coppola’s print cut in for quality.

I have been also trying to restore the triptych section to the Carl Davis's version, which has been very difficult as the score does not fit the triptych section and I have not seen the full version of the film in a cinema, although there are some fragments of the full triptych section, with the Carl Davis score, seen here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZrgZd6kg0k0" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

I have been as well trying to improve the sound quality of the silent version by cutting in the parts of the score that were released on CD, which is just as impossible, as the score released on CD is recorded at either a higher or lower tempo then the silent version, the only exception to this is the beginning opening titles, which only lasts about 20 seconds.

Calvin
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#254 Post by Calvin » Sun Dec 28, 2014 8:31 am

Back in September, the CNC gave €650,000 to La Cinémathèque Française to restore/digitise Napoleon.

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Ann Harding
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#255 Post by Ann Harding » Mon Dec 29, 2014 6:10 am

Conference at the Cinemathèque française on 29th January 2015 about their new resto:
Restaurer le Napoléon d’Abel Gance : nécessité, ambition et méthode d’un vaste chantier
Par Georges Mourier
Napoléon a été montré en 1927 dans deux versions : une de 4h à l’Opéra de Paris avec les triptyques, l’autre de 9h30 au Théâtre Apollo sans les triptyques. Le film connut jusqu’en 1971 plusieurs remontages et différentes versions dirigées par Abel Gance. En 1949, Henri Langlois fait l’acquisition d’éléments filmiques et entreprend avec Marie Epstein un long travail de sauvegarde et de restauration, tentant d’obtenir une version muette la plus complète possible. L’expertise menée par Georges Mourier à La Cinémathèque française depuis 2007, a mis en évidence l’existence jusqu’ici insoupçonnée de deux négatifs originels aux choix artistiques différents. Toutes les restaurations effectuées depuis 1949, dont celles de Kevin Brownlow et Bambi Ballard, utilisent indistinctement des éléments des deux versions Opéra et Apollo. La reconstruction de Napoléon dans la version Apollo, avec intégration du triptyque final, permettra de proposer le film dans une durée d’environ 6h25, et restituant l’ensemble au plus près du montage originel dans sa rythmique musicale, voulue par Gance en 1927.
(Projection de nombreux documents et d’un extrait reconstruit.)

Suivi de
Dialogue entre Francis Ford Coppola et Costa-Gavras, Animé par Joël Daire
The Film Preserve, société de restauration dirigée par Robert Harris, obtient en 1974 de Claude Lelouch les droits américains pour Napoléon. En 1976, la société fait l’acquisition du négatif détenu par la MGM et donne accès à ce matériel au British Film Institute, à la société Photoplay et à Kevin Brownlow pour leur restauration qui sera présentée au festival de Telluride en 1979. En mars 1980, une projection test a lieu au Walker Art Center de Minneapolis. Carmine Coppola, père de Francis Ford, y rencontre Abel Gance. Les deux hommes s’accordent sur la création d’une partition musicale. The Film Preserve et American Zoetrope deviennent partenaires. Napoléon est présenté avec succès au Radio City Music Hall de New York le 23 janvier 1981.

goalieboy82
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#256 Post by goalieboy82 » Thu Jan 01, 2015 8:54 pm

if you see the criterion front page and see the soldiers in the background (hinting this years movies they will release), i hope that i Napoleon. if so, i am think Tuesday, July 14th (Bastille Day) release on dvd/blu ray.

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Ann Harding
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#257 Post by Ann Harding » Thu Jan 29, 2015 11:58 am

I was this morning at the above mentioned conference. We were told that the CF intends to reconstruct a 6h30 version from elements coming from the famed Apollo version. The previous restorations are considered useless by them as they mix the Apollo and the Opera version. F.F. Coppola was there to give his blessings and said he will endeavour to show this new version with a score made of pieces from his deceased father Carmine.
I have doubts about the actual selection of takes of the Apollo vs. the Opera version. Are they really all clearly identified? I doubt it. The restorer claimed he will make "the definitive version" that will blow away all previous restorations, including Kevin Brownlow's 2000 restoration. We were shown a short clip of the Marseillaise with the new reconstruction vs. the 1983 Brownlow restoration (labelled "1991 Bambi Ballard" - Opera version). It differed slightly from the other in terms of choice of camera angles and takes. It looks as if Carl Davis' score will be soon considered history. Coppola stated he never heard it.
So the Napoléon story is not over....
And BTW the CF wants to make a DVD of this new version.

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NABOB OF NOWHERE
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#258 Post by NABOB OF NOWHERE » Thu Jan 29, 2015 1:57 pm

Fuck Coppola and the horse he rode in on

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Ann Harding
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#259 Post by Ann Harding » Thu Feb 05, 2015 5:10 am

The press release and the conference regarding the CF restoration are available here.

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La Clé du Ciel
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#260 Post by La Clé du Ciel » Thu Feb 05, 2015 7:43 am

I too was at the CF for this event, which was as compelling as it was frustrating. It also raised a number of questions – many of which I suspect the post-presentation “panel” was keen to avoid answering. Pertinently, of course, there was no chance for the “panel” to take questions from the audience.

Some of the questions relate to the differences between the CF’s stated aims of the restoration of NAPOLEON in 2012 and now in 2015:
  • 1) In 2012, the CF stated the aim to restore both the Apollo and Opera versions. No mention was made of doing the shorter Opera version in 2015.
    2) In 2012, Georges Mourier made a big deal out of how different the two versions were and that they would follow the authentic pattern of differences in their double restoration. In 2015, the CF is saying that they are restoring the Apollo version but with the final triptych. I can only imagine this is because if they aren’t restoring the Opera version at all they want to salvage the film’s most famous feature. What will this do to their mission statement of “authenticity”? And what about the extra scenes in the single-screen Apollo ending?
    3) No mention was made of the missing Double Tempest triptych sequence – nor if they were trying to restore it for the Opera version, as was implied in 2012. (Back then, their press release included a marvellous still from this sequence.)
Other points relate to music:
  • 4) FFC’s statements about past and future scores were inaccurate. Firstly, he seemed uncertain about who had done the restoration of the version he released in 1981 (it was Brownlow) – and never mentioned how it had to be cut down to fit a shorter screening slot. He also claimed that the 1981 shows in the US was the first time NAPOLEON (or any silent feature) had been shown with an orchestra since the 1920s. This is patently false, as the Carl Davis score for NAPOLEON was written and performed in 1980. (Davis has since written dozens of more scores for silent films and it is his and Brownlow’s work that should lay claim to reigniting the restoration of this kind of live cinema experience.)
    5) FFC’s plans for the new musical score could be problematic. His father’s 1981 score will have to be completely rewritten and rearranged: it won’t fit the old 1980 restoration at the correct projection speed, let alone a vastly altered print in 2017(?). FFC will effectively become the artistic co-ordinator of NAPOLEON’s exhibition. Will the CF (or anyone else) have any say in these decisions?
    6) FFC’s comments on the difficulty of performing a 6h30m film don't seem to take into account how the 5h30m version has been performed outside the US for the last three decades. FFC suggested the orchestra would “rest” whilst an organ or chamber group took up the slack during parts of what he seem to imply would be a solid 6h30m performance. What about the audience? Intervals solve the problem of tiredness for performers and audience: this strategy has been used when showing the Brownlow restoration with great success.
    7) FFC has never heard the Davis score – has he any interest in doing so? Davis is the only surviving composer to have created a score for NAPOLEON.
    8) Many years ago, the CF commissioned a score by Marius Constant – based on Honegger’s music. The score isn’t any good, but does the CF want to use it when NAPOLEON is shown in France? (No mention of it was made in 2015.) Or do they want a new score? Will the CF get any say in the artistic choices of FFC’s music? (Costa-Gavras came close to raising this kind of point, but right from the outset of the day’s events it was made clear that FFC is worldwide rights holder and would porbably have the ultimate say.)
Finally, the question of rights:
  • 9) There was a round of applause when it got highlighted how the rights of NAPOLEON are secured within France for the CF as a matter of national importance. Will the CF try to assert their independence when the film is shown in France?
    10) The UK was not mentioned once in the entire evening. Do Brownlow/the BFI still have distribution rights in the UK for future versions? Will the CF restoration even be distributed in the UK? (If so, how?)
I don’t have any answer to these questions. My own powerless and inconsequential mullings lead me to offer the following comments:

The closer the CF get to restoring the 9h30m Apollo version, the closer they will come to eliminating the possibility of viewing NAPOLEON in the theatre. Theoretically, if they were to magically rediscover all 9h30m, this would make it impossible to show in cinemas. The Apollo version was made in an era when lengthy serial films were a prominent feature of cinema exhibition: the longest edition of NAPOLEON was never designed to be shown in one day, let alone one sitting. In the modern era, there is no place for a film with intervals, let alone one shown over multiple days/weeks. If (as I have to assume) the CF wants to get as many people to see NAPOLEON as possible, they will have to show it digitally in cinemas like the latest restoration of METROPOLIS. The longer they make the film, the more difficult this will be. Even as a live show with intervals, 6h30m is pushing the limits of plausibility.

All of this begs the question: why isn’t the CF restoring the 4-hour Opera version? Not only would it be much easier to fit onto screening schedules (either as a live performance or as a special digital screening in regular cinemas), it would boast both of the film’s triptychs (presumably the most marketable aspect of the film). Restoring the Opera version first and getting it released would at least get the film seen by a large number of audiences. Afterwards, the longer Apollo version could receive a DVD/Blu-ray release and give the public the “definitive” film. Though I consider NAPOLEON can only be fully understood as a work of art when shown in the longest possible edition, I accept that it is extremely unlikely to be shown as a 6h30m whole in cinemas under anything other than exceptional circumstances – particularly if the CF ends up finding any more material.

The saga of NAPOLEON goes on, and on, and on…
Last edited by La Clé du Ciel on Sat Apr 25, 2015 10:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

goalieboy82
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#261 Post by goalieboy82 » Mon Apr 20, 2015 10:54 am

any news on Napoleon. from what i read, there might be a showing of it (the new version) next year.

WorstFella
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#262 Post by WorstFella » Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:41 pm

Looks like it's getting the full theatrical/home video treatment by the BFI later this year.

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/ja ... _b-gdnfilm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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Roscoe
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#263 Post by Roscoe » Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:44 pm

It's not April 1st, is it? Tell me this is true. I may pass out.

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MichaelB
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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#264 Post by MichaelB » Wed Jan 27, 2016 8:45 pm

It is NOT April 1st, and this is indeed true - although it's been in the works for so long that I think James White was working on it when he was still at the BFI!

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Roscoe
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#265 Post by Roscoe » Wed Jan 27, 2016 9:26 pm

I do remember that the Criterion Collection purchased some advertising in the program for Oakland screenings a couple years ago...

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kidc85
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#266 Post by kidc85 » Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:18 am

Awesome news. Do we have any clue how they're going to handle the triptych?

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MichaelB
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#267 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jan 28, 2016 4:23 am

I assume across a thin band in the middle of the screen. How else are they going to do it?

Although since there's an alternative single-screen version, it might make sense to include that as a viewing option too.

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JamesF
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#268 Post by JamesF » Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:52 am

Does this mean Kevin Brownlow has thrown in the towel and conceded there is no more extra footage to discover? :D

Kidding aside, this is an incredible achievement, especially as it seemed the Photoplay version would be off the cards for a video release some time ago.

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MichaelB
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#269 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jan 28, 2016 9:53 am

And here's the official BFI announcement:
The BFI today announces a new chapter in the epic history of one of the world’s greatest films: Abel Gance’s Napoleon (1927). In the culmination of a 50-year project, Academy Award-winning film historian Kevin Brownlow and the BFI National Archive have completed a new digitally restored version of Abel Gance’s cinematic triumph. From Autumn 2016, for the first time ever, audiences across the UK will be able to experience this extraordinary cinematic masterpiece with Carl Davis’ magnificent score when the film goes on theatrical release in UK cinemas and is available on BFI DVD/Blu-ray and BFI Player.

This legendary 5 ½ hour film was first presented, partially restored, at the BFI London Film Festival in 1980. The latest digital restoration of Napoleon will have its premiere screening with a live performance by the Philharmonia Orchestra of Carl Davis’ score (the longest ever composed for a silent film) in early November 2016 at the Royal Festival Hall.

This project has been achieved thanks to major work undertaken by the experts of the BFI National Archive and Photoplay Productions working with Dragon DI post-production in Wales, and to the generosity of Carl Davis and Jean Boht, who have made possible the recording of the score by the Philharmonia. The original restoration of the 35mm film elements in 2000 was funded by the generous support of the Eric Anker-Petersen charity, with the support of many archives around the world but especially the Cinémathèque Française and the Centre Nationale de la Cinématographie in Paris.

Heather Stewart, Creative Director, BFI said, “Several generations of staff at the BFI have worked on this project. Napoleon is a landmark in the history of cinema and we are grateful to all of the great talents who have helped us along the way but especially, of course, Kevin Brownlow for his indefatigable championing of the film and Carl Davis for his amazing score.”

Kevin Brownlow, Photoplay Productions said, “'This is a tremendous step forward for film history.'

Carl Davis, composer said, ““Thanks to the BFI we have this splendid DVD (Blu-ray). In the words of Napoleon ‘At last!’ “

This new version of Napoleon will allow audiences to see the film’s original tinting and toning, including colour combinations which could not be achieved in the existing 35mm print. Integration of sections sourced from a wide range of elements have also been improved by detailed digital image repair and alignment.

The film has been entirely re-graded and received extensive digital clean-up throughout, all of which offers significant improvements in overall picture quality. This is the most complete version of the film available, compiled by Academy Award-winning film-maker, archivist and historian Kevin Brownlow who spent over 50 years tracking down surviving prints from archives around the world since he first saw a 9.5mm version as a schoolboy in 1954. Brownlow and his colleagues at Photoplay, initially the late David Gill, and then Patrick Stanbury, worked with the BFI National Archive on a series of restorations. The film version has been screened only 4 times in the UK since the year 2000 at memorable events with full orchestra performing the original score by composer Carl Davis.

Running at over 5½ hours on screen, the film demands a huge investment of resources, from projectionists, musicians, conductor and audiences; in a live performance with intervals the experience adds up to over 8 hours from start to finish. Napoleon offers one of the most richly rewarding and thrilling experiences in the history of cinema, a brilliant pairing of music and film, comparable to grand opera in its intensity, offering dazzling scenes of unparalleled brilliance, with full scale historical recreations of episodes from the personal and political life of Napoleon from the French Revolution to the heroic arrival of French troops in Italy marking the beginning of the First Italian campaign of 1796.

Following the premiere of the digital restoration of Napoleon it will be released in cinemas UK-wide in its music-synched version. The simultaneous BFI Blu-ray/DVD release of the film is the first, of this full version, anywhere in the world and will include the recording of the score and a significant package of extras. Napoleon will also be available to view on BFI Player.

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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#270 Post by denti alligator » Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:01 am

MichaelB wrote:I assume across a thin band in the middle of the screen. How else are they going to do it?
For the Blu-ray release they might make use of the 1.78 ratio to make it larger, no? Most 1.33 films are stored as 1.78 with black bars left and right. Couldn't this space be used for that sequence?

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MichaelB
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#271 Post by MichaelB » Thu Jan 28, 2016 10:02 am

I was assuming across a 16:9 screen - that's the basic shape of a Blu-Ray encode. So it would be pillarboxed for most of the running time and letterboxed at the end.

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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#272 Post by McCrutchy » Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:33 pm

denti alligator wrote:
MichaelB wrote:I assume across a thin band in the middle of the screen. How else are they going to do it?
For the Blu-ray release they might make use of the 1.78 ratio to make it larger, no? Most 1.33 films are stored as 1.78 with black bars left and right. Couldn't this space be used for that sequence?
Do you mean cropping and zooming the triptych to try and get it sort of panned-and-scanned into the entire 1.78:1 frame, giving an illusion of added picture because the rest of the film is 1.33:1? Because if so, I don't think that's going to happen, as it's far too compromising to the original imagery, and only Gance himself would really have the authority to redesign the 4:00:1 triptych to look more impressive on a 1.78:1 screen.

My guess is that they'll do what Michael seems to be proposing. Present the film in 1.33:1 (in the 1.78:1 frame of a Blu-ray encode) until the triptych, and then present the whole triptych in 4:00:1, but inside the 1.78:1 frame.

My hope is that BFI would also include each section of the triptych in 1.33:1 as three video extras, too. Obviously, you cannot present the film this way, but it would be great to get to study the triptych as closely as possible, even if that has to mean one-third at a time.

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swo17
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#273 Post by swo17 » Thu Jan 28, 2016 1:47 pm

Obviously this should be a 3-disc set where one disc has the feature viewable two ways (one with the entire triptych squeezed into the 1.78:1 frame and the other with just the center portion) and the other two discs contain the left and right sides of the triptych for those equipped to display it on three screens as intended (which, granted, is probably no one on Earth). This would leave Discs 2 and 3 with plenty of space for the requisite bounteous bonus material.

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domino harvey
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Re: Napoléon (Abel Gance, 1927)

#274 Post by domino harvey » Thu Jan 28, 2016 2:13 pm

So the Zaireeka of Blu-Ray release?

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Re: Napoleon (Gance, 1927)

#275 Post by goalieboy82 » Thu Jan 28, 2016 6:26 pm

WorstFella wrote:Looks like it's getting the full theatrical/home video treatment by the BFI later this year.

http://www.theguardian.com/film/2016/ja ... _b-gdnfilm" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usfiAsWR4qU" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

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