Until next time. The Locarno Film Festival has decided to postpone the Blake Edwards laugh marathon and to shine a spotlight on black cinema. It’s a shift in perspective, and Retrospective. The new Locarno72 Retrospective is called Black Light, and it will explore the boundaries of a filmmaking that encompasses all kinds of filmmaking: black cinema.
This new development came from the United States: for the past few weeks, the Blake Edwards Estate has requested that the 2019 Retrospective, focusing on the comedy genius, be postponed. Hence the Festival’s decision to put the present on hold and bring forth the future: Black Light, which was conceived as the Retrospective for 2020, will now be part of Locarno72. While curator Roberto Turigliatto will continue to work on upcoming retrospectives, the Locarno Film Festival is now ready to greet the key players of a century of black cinema, curated by the independent author and specialist Greg de Cuir Jr. He’s in charge of Black Light, a journey through the 20th century that will bleed into the beginnings of the 21st, showcasing geographies and filmmakers on opposite ends.
Just as one can’t talk about a single Africa, one can’t talk about a single “black cinema”. Reality, which sinks its hands in history and amongst stories, is more complex. The Locarno72 Retrospective intends to go beyond the concept of blackness as an identity or social issue, and investigate the vision of filmmakers who dealt with those topics, on a historical or political level, in different times and places. The Black Light retrospective is structured like an eclectic inquiry, focusing mainly on the 20th century, and will present cult directors, race movies from the 1920s and 1930s, pioneering masterpieces and essential filmmakers who dealt with the racial politics of the time.
Lili Hinstin, Artistic Director of the Locarno Film Festival: “I’m often asked about gender, within the framework of the extraordinary movement that is #MeToo; I do think, however, that the struggle against social domination must go beyond the plight of women and include all those who do not match the supremacy of straight white males. A concept as recent as ‘race’, born in the 18th century, is part of that discussion and contemporaneous to the birth and history of cinema. What the Locarno Film Festival wishes to ask itself and investigate, through the Black Light Retrospective, is how artists tackled the question of blackness through cinema in the 20th century.”
The Retrospective, curated by Greg de Cuir Jr., will be presented in partnership with the Cinémathèque suisse. A publication in English and French by Capricci will also enrich the program.