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“Ours is a festival of discovery”

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Carlo Chatrian • Artistic director, Locarno International Film Festival


- Carlo Chatrian, artistic director of the Locarno International Film Festival, reveals to us his vision of the festival

Carlo Chatrian  • Artistic director, Locarno International Film Festival
© TiPress

Carlo Chatrian boldly embarks on his second year as artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival, carrying forward the same old festival with its strong tradition of support for independent cinema

Cineuropa: How does this 67th edition differ from the previous one?
Carlo Chatrian:
This year two elements set it apart: for starters there’s the focus on remembering modern cinema, cinema that from the 60s onwards changed the way stories were told, through Nouvelle Vague. Then you’ve got the guests who form a direct link to this cinema experience but also younger directors, of films in competition, who look to that freedom of style and language which in the 60s was probably at its most expressive. There’s also a common thread – I wouldn’t call it thematic, I mean in relation to the approach used: new movies, in various competitions, but also in the non-competitive sections, look at the world, not so much in political terms, but rather with a desire to mirror the crisis situations affecting Europe and the world in general.

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You’ve often spoken about the need for “continuity” at the Locarno festival. Can you explain to us better why this idea of continuity is so important?
In general here continuity is the desire to carry forward a line of support for independent cinema, cinema that’s not necessarily the subject of market attention but which might manage to get noticed thanks to festivals like Locarno. But more specifically, continuity is provided by so many welcome comebacks: from Paul Vecchiali who 15 years ago was president of the jury right here in Locarno - back to screen his new film this year, to Marín Rejtman or Eugène Green directors whose movies regularly return toLocarno. There’s also continuity between one year and another and although it’s not intentional it’s quite pleasant: Lav Diaz for example was president of the jury last year and this year he has decided to screen his new movie (in competition). Pedro Costa too was present last year to accompany a tribute to Paulo Rocha, and will be back at Locarno this year with a film in competition. So, continuity is also understood in this sense, I mean by making Locarno a meeting place for prized filmmakers.

What are the Locarno festival’s strengths? What makes it different from other big international or Swiss festivals?
Locarno’s strength is undoubtedly its history, including its recent history, its ability of knowing how to identify (before others) filmmakers, directors and actors who later became really important. Ours is a festival of discovery; maybe also because it’s subject to less pressure, it’s free to go pick the artists that might in a few years time change our way of seeing, of narrating.

How important is the role of the Locarno festival as a platform of discovery of and support for Swiss filmmaking?
I believe that Locarno is a fantastic platform for Swiss cinema in that it offers a large selection of Swiss films that are on a par with other movies. This allows the films selected in the various competitions to be noticed by other festivals, by distributors and producers and thus to be launched in the same way as movies from other directors. For me, the films of Andrea Staka and of Fernand Malgar represent the best of this year’s production. These are two young Swiss directors who nevertheless managed to become part of the international scene and that’s an important point to note. This year we will host a new section: “Panorama Suisse”, an initiative organised by Swiss Films and coordinated by Seraina Rohrer, director of the Solothurn Film Festival. Panorama Suisse aims to present the best of Swiss production. I’m delighted to be able to present this showcase which helps to guarantee that Swiss cinema is seen and recognised both by the public and by critics who this year, thanks to the effort of Swiss Films, will be able to discuss the movies during a round table.

(Translated from Italian)



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