Locarno Film Festival held in one of the most beautiful corners of Switzerland, on the Lago Major, from the 2nd to 12th August, this year celebrated its 70th birthday. Always well attended, the Festival has grown in size and quality over the years. The secret of its longevity and health rests in its capacity to constantly reinvent itself.
The current artistic director Carlo Chatrian (in charge for the last five years) has done an excellent job. He programmed a distinguished selection of European and international films, strong entries from veterans, but also impressive debuts, experimental movies, and urgent world issues, plus a complete retrospective of French filmmaker Jacques Tourneur. He also managed to attract quite a number of stars to the event.
The festival’s organisation has also improved dramatically (with a spotless theme of press offices). So too the exhibitions spaces. When everywhere cinemas are shutting down to be replaced by casinos and banks, it was a joy to learn that Locarno not only managed to prevent the closing of one of its oldest cinemas, the Rex, but opened two new cinemas.
For its 70s anniversary postage stamps with the festival’s logo were produced, while the twenty Swiss francs bank notes featured an image of the screen of the Piazza Grande.
The Festival’s reputation continues to improve, and on reaching its 70th edition, it reconfirms its position as the best film festival of the summer, with the gift of its open-air screen, the Square, seating 8,000 people. Locarno feels like cinema dreamland. Like the leopard of its logo, it has jumped strongly and youthfully into the future. Happy birthday Locarno! (Rita Di Santo)