A long story... in a few words

The summer of 1946 was a momentous one in the history of European cinema. In the space of ten days, two new international festivals came to life and a third was reborn. On the evening of the 23rd of August, the Locarno Festival kicked off with a screening of Giacomo Gentilomo's "O sole mio" on the sloping lawn of the Grand Hotel.


© Locarno Festival, 1948

1971: the first screen appears on the Piazza Grande. Inspired by the architect Livio Vacchini, it changes the face of the Festival forever.


© Locarno Festival, 1971

The Piazza Grande, the home of cinema, welcomes up to 8000 spectators every night.


© Locarno Festival, 1989
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From the great years of Italian Neo-Realism to the groundbreaking pioneers of the Nouvelle Vague. From the discovery of films from countries beyond the Iron Curtain during the Cold War, to the first great exploration of cinema from the Far East.

Not forgetting the impressive line-up of directors for whom Locarno was their debut international stage: Milos Forman, Marco Bellocchio, Glauber Rocha, Raúl Ruiz, Alain Tanner, Mike Leigh, Béla Tarr, Chen Kaige, Aleksandr Sokurov, Atom Egoyan, Jim Jarmusch, Spike Lee, Abbas Kiarostami, Gus Van Sant, Pedro Costa, Fatih Akin.

A long history of discovery which began on 23 August 1946 when the very first Festival was held in the gardens of the Grand Hotel. A story that is far from over, because Locarno has always gladly held true to its cosmopolitan vocation of seeking out the cinema of the future.


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