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The Retrospective of Locarno74
He was a director, an architect, a photographer, an intellectual and a critic. This was, and is, Alberto Lattuada, the surprising and elusive protagonist of 40 years' worth of Italian cinema, and the Locarno Film Festival is pleased to make him the subject of the Locarno74 retrospective.
Still far too obscure and rarely remembered, Lattuada was a careful and never predictable storyteller within the context of the second half of the Italian 1900s, and he was capable of moving in between genres. He was an erudite and popular auteur, whose many successes will be ripe for rediscovery in Locarno on August 4-14.
Alberto Lattuada’s gaze was restless and curious, generous and political, he was able to preserve his own singularity and individuality while always putting himself to the test, experimenting with film genres but never losing his rapport with the movie-going public. Rediscovering his complete output will effectively allow the best kept secret of Italian cinema to see the light of day: a secret that is paradoxical, fascinating, and still mysterious.
Sensuality, beauty, ambiguity, formal control, perfectionism and experimentation are just some of the ingredients of the astonishingly diverse output of a free, curious and anti-conformist man who today deserves more than ever to be rediscovered by audiences.
A bite-sized journey towards the 2021 Retrospective, to discover Lattuada with the help of experts, each delivering their own take on the director.
Alberto Lattuada, an Italian director, screenwriter and producer, the son of composer Felice Lattuada, was born in Milan on November 13, 1914. He graduated in architecture in his native city, but soon developed an interest in photography and cinema. Building on his early experience as a film critic, he made his directing debut in 1943 with Giacomo l’idealista (Giacomo the Idealist), then turned towards Neo-Realism in the aftermath of World War II with Il bandito (The Bandit, 1946), whose female lead Carla Del Poggio later became his wife. He initially showcased his personal adherence to the movement, being open to Hollywood genre cinema's influences, particularly crime films and melodrama, as seen in Senza pietà (Without Pity, 1948). At the same time, even in literary adaptations like Il mulino del Po (The Mill on the Po, 1949), Lattuada was able to introduce his attention to individuals and their social connotations that transcended Neorealist sensitivities. In the 1950s, after co-directing Luci del varietà (The Lights of Variety, 1950) with Federico Fellini, his outlook turned more disillusioned and focused on mankind's humiliation at the hands of the economic dynamics of the time, as seen in Il cappotto (The Overcoat, 1952), La spiaggia (The Boarder, 1953) and Mafioso (1962). During that time, he also opened up to vitality and sensuality as a means of self-discovery, as with the main characters in Anna (1951), Guendalina (1957) and Dolci inganni (Sweet Deceptions, 1960).
He discovered many young acting talents, including Catherine Spaak (Dolci inganni/Sweet Deceptions, 1960) and Nastassja Kinski (Così come sei/Stay as You Are, 1978), and was a lucid portrayer of the zeitgeist in Italy during the 1970s and ’80s, with acclaimed collaborations with Ugo Tognazzi (Venga a prendere il caffè… da noi/Come Have Coffee with Us, 1970), Renato Pozzetto (Oh, Serafina!, 1976) and Virna Lisi (La cicala/The Cricket, 1980).
The ability to consistently reinvent himself in a fresh manner led Lattuada to directing other literary adaptations, period satires, thrillers, war movies and even TV productions, such as Cristoforo Colombo (Christopher Columbus,1985) and his final work, Mano rubata (1989). In 1998 he donated the contents of his personal archive to the Fondazione Cineteca Italiana in Milan, of which he had been one of the co-founders in 1947, while Carla Del Poggio donated her archive to the Cineteca di Bologna. Lattuada died in his home in Orvieto on July 3, 2005.
Giacomo the Idealist (Giacomo l'idealista) (1942)
The Arrow (La freccia nel fianco) (1943)
La nostra guerra (1945)
The Bandit (Il bandito) (1946)
Flesh Will Surrender (Il delitto di Giovanni Episcopo) (1947)
Without Pity (Senza pietà) (1948)
The Mill on the Po (Il mulino del Po) (1949)
The Lights of Variety (Luci del varietà) (1950) co-directed with Federico Fellini
The Overcoat (Il cappotto) (1952)
She Wolf (La lupa) (1953)
Gli italiani si voltano, segment of Love in the City (1953)
The Beach (La spiaggia) (1954)
Elementary School (Scuola elementare) (1954)
Tempest (La tempesta) (1958)
Sweet Deceptions (Dolci inganni) (1960)
Letters by a Novice (Lettere di una novizia) (1960)
Unexpected (L'imprevisto) (1961)
The Steppe (La steppa) (1962)
La mandragola (1965)
Don Juan in Sicily (Don Giovanni in Sicilia) (1967)
Fräulein Doktor (1969)
Come Have Coffee with Us (Venga a prendere il caffè... da noi) (1970)
The Sin (Bianco, rosso e...) (1972)
Sono stato io! (1973)
I'll Take Her Like a Father (Le farò da padre) (1974)
Dog's Heart (Cuore di cane) (1976)
Oh, Serafina! (1976)
Stay as You Are (Così come sei) (1978)
The Cricket (La cicala) (1980)
A Thorn in the Heart (Una spina nel cuore) (1986)
8,000 viewers a night, the Piazza Grande is both the Festival’s heart and its showcase. With its giant screen, one of the biggest in Europe, endowed with truly exceptional projection quality, the Piazza Grande is one of the finest open-air venues in the world.
From 2019 to 2021, the Open Doors Screenings section explores the diverse filmmaking of South East Asia and Mongolia. In 2021, it presents a curated selection of feature and short films from Laos, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam, Myanmar, Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines and Mongolia.
The Locarno Kids Screenings section offers films for children and teenagers. It has a special emphasis on works screening as national premieres, together with restored titles that help rediscover film history.