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For the last 30 years the Locarno Film Festival's Pardo d’onore has been awarded to masters of contemporary cinema; previous recipients include filmmakers of such stature as Manoel de Oliveira, Bernardo Bertolucci, Ken Loach, Jean-Luc Godard, Abbas Kiarostami, Terry Gilliam, Aleksandr Sokurov, William Friedkin, Alain Tanner, Jia Zhang-ke, Leos Carax, Werner Herzog, Agnès Varda, Michael Cimino, Marco Bellocchio and, in 2016, Alejandro Jodorowsky, Jean-Marie Straub, Todd Haynes and, in 2018, Bruno Dumont.
Starting from 2017, Manor, Main partner of the Locarno Film Festival for the past 19 years, will support the Pardo d'onore.
John Landis is a genuine American genius. The all-consuming cinephile passion, slapstick music, irresistible gags and visceral attachment to the B movie ethos, combined with acute critical sensibility and political awareness, made him a key figure in the renewal of American filmmaking between the Seventies and the Nineties. He hybridized horror and comedy, musical and noir, in a way never seen before. The resulting masterpieces captured enthusiastic audiences around the world, drawn by his fresh new filmic language and the challenges to conventional morality. Landis showed that you could do it all and dream it all, and in so doing he made cinema better, fairer, more inclusive. He provided a vector for the anxieties of the Sixties generation, giving them a new interpretation and creating a new kind of comedy merged with mutant physicality which – from John Belushi to the werewolves – rewrote the dominant aesthetic code. John Landis personifies the American cinema we have always loved and always will love.
Giona A. Nazzaro