Addressing ethical issues of authenticity and creative ownership, EL ADIOS LARGOS playfully restores the opening scene of the (supposedly) only surviving print (a black and white, truncated, Spanish dubbed version) of Robert Altman’s classic, The Long Goodbye. Andrew Lampert’s self-declared “painstaking restoration” sees the protagonist’s nocturnal ride to the supermarket becoming a psychedelic somnambulist’s trip. The characters float within a cinematic space, where analogue and digital artifacts playfully deconstruct the mise-en-scene, blotches of paint transforming the black-and-white space into a surreal carnival of color. A mischievous cinematic (re)reading that purposefully gets lost in the process, down the rabbit-hole.
— Andrei Tănăsescu, Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival


  • Toronto International Film Festiva (2013)
  • New York Film Festival (2013)
  • Migrating Forms, Brooklyn, NY (2013)
  • International Film Festival Rotterdam, Netherlands (2014)
  • Image Forum, Tokyo, Japan (2014)
  • CONVERSATIONS AT THE EDGE, Gene Siskel Film Center, Chicago, IL (2014)
  • Microlights, Milwaukee, WI (2014)
  • Bucharest International Film Festival (2014)
  • Microlights, Milwaukee, WI (2014)
  • Viennale, Vienna, Austria (2014)
  • Suburban PS, Rotterdam, Netherlands (2014)
  • Pacific Film Archive, Berkeley, CA (2014)
  • Bucharest International Experimental Film Festival (2014)

2013, 13 minutes, 35mm-on-16mm-on-digital.
Edited by Jody Blyer. Script by Angelina Fernandez. Score by John Williams. Cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond.

In 1973, Robert Altman's THE LONG GOODBYE was both a critical and commercial flop. Set in a time transposed, neo-noir Los Angeles, Elliott Gould's bumbling performance as gumshoe Philip Marlowe left Raymond Chandler aficionados dismayed, as did Vilmos Zsigmond;s kinetic camera work and John Williams' cheeky score. The film quickly disappeared from theaters and was never shown on television. While the film was released on RCA's short-lived Video Disc format in 1981, the movie has not been seen since. All known prints were destroyed, and the original production elements perished due to a leaky sprinkler system in a Culver City in 1983. THE LONG GOODBYE was written off as permanently lost, an all too important missing link from Altman's greatest period. It has for years remained a film that is impossible to reassess.

Filmmaker and archivist Andrew Lampert’s serendipitously purchased a mysteriously film titled EL ADIOS LARGOS from a collector through the mail in 2002. Closer examination revealed that this 16mm, black and white, cropped, Spanish-language dubbed print was actually a reduction copy of Altman’s 35mm, color, widescreen, English-language masterpiece. Knowing the importance of his discovery, Lampert and a team of volunteer preservationists, including colorization expert Jody Blyer, set out on a decade-plus mission to preserve this unearthed gem using the latest digital technology. Lampert has gone to extensive lengths to painstakingly produce the most authentic, thoroughly accurate version that can be made given the considerable difference in materials.

In a similar vein, Andrew Lampert’s intriguing archival thought experiment El Adios Largos posits a past in which Robert Altman’s languorous The Long Goodbye is a mythical lost work, a cinephilic dream. The fictional backstory: after finally surfacing in Mexico, the film was subject to a botched restoration. The result is the unfamiliar experience of a counterculture classic with pop-art colorizations and dubbed Spanish voices that feel detached from the bodies of Elliott Gould and even his cat. What if this had been the cultural object we’d inherited? With that experiment, El Adios Largos might be the most succinct explication of Migrating Forms at its best: it makes the cinema a space where we reimagine our history as much as our future.
— Giampaolo Bianconi, Film Comment

Distributed by EAI