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Traveling with the audience chairs

Traveling with the audience chairs

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Traveling with the audience chairs

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Traveling with the audience chairs

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Traveling with the audience chairs

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Traveling with the audience chairs

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Traveling with the audience chairs

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Traveling with the audience chairs

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Traveling with the audience chairs

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The British director (but with Indian origins) Gurinder Chadha brought women’s football to Piazza Grande with her Bend it Like Beckham: to her, Locarno still represents the surprise of seeing a flood of people along the streets of the Festival and discovering that everybody is there to watch her movie.

This is just one of the several memories that many other cinema personalities cherish in their hearts. Like Bruno Ganz who recalls rainy screenings in Piazza Grande under an umbrella. Or the two directors of Microcosmos, Marie Pérennou and Claude Nuridsany, talk about how their tiny actor-insects turned into giants on the enormous screen. Director Alessandro D’Alatri remembers the fear of realizing that soon thousands of people will be watching and judging your film out in the open air. For Anna Galiena, the often vociferous public brings with it the joyous spirit of her childhood film-watching.   

Everyone has their own Piazza Grande memories, and every evening they’ll be served up as an appetizer. Before Olivier Père takes to the stage to announce the start of the programmed films, a pair of black and yellow chairs will appear on the screen, the same as the ones filling the piazza. Only this time they will be placed elsewhere, among the stalls of a market in Zurich, surrounded by the green French countryside or on the cobblestones of an old Roman street.

The chairs will be located in the hometowns of actors or directors who over the course of various festivals have seen their film win the Prix du Public UBS. This idea of a return, condensed into a minute and a half of memories, greetings and thanks, will be a celebration of the anniversary of one of the Locarno Film Festival’s mainstays. For 20 years now, the audience sitting in the piazza has become the world’s largest open-air jury, casting their votes for the film they enjoyed the most.

Whether Smoke by Wayne Wang, Das Leben der Anderen by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, Bend it like Beckham by Gurinder Chadha or The Human Resources Manager by Eran Riklis, a look at the long list of the winners shows how it represents not only the most recent history of the Locarno Film Festival, but also a good slice of the history of contemporary cinema. These little capsule films that will open all the evenings in the Piazza Grande are our way of refreshing that history, a way of renewing tradition but also of launching visions of the present and the future through a dive into the past. And a reminder that once again it will be you in the piazza who choose who will sit next year on those leopard-adorned seats, scattered around the world.

Direction: Lorenzo Buccella, Michele Jannuzzi 
Editing: Alberto Meroni 
Cameramen (Rome): Carlo De Domenico (Ziblab), Marco Carli 
Cameraman (Zürich, Salles-la-Sources, London): Alberto Meroni 
Sound: Riccardo Studer
Music: Nick Norton-Smith
Production: Jannuzzi Smith, London/Lugano

Lorenzo Buccella

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