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Tribute to Clemens Klopfenstein

Histoire(s) du cinéma: Cinéma suisse redécouvert

Tribute to Clemens Klopfenstein

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The marriage between the Festival del film Locarno and the Cinémathèque suisse gets renewed every year, with special gifts. In 2016, two of these concern Bernese director Clemens Klopfenstein, the poet of the night, a cinematic location and space that he’s made unique through film, shooting it in various cities throughout the world in Geschichte der Nacht. As stated by the Cinémathèque’s director Frédéric Maire, it’s an experimental masterpiece that has often had the misfortune of being screened in museums, theaters and festivals in terrible conditions. However, thanks to a digital restoration carried out by the Cinémathèque suisse, the association Memoriav, the University of Basel and the director himself via the Cinegrell laboratory, it has reclaimed it beauty and uniqueness. As part of the Histoire(s) du cinéma program, we will also see another film by the same director, the disorienting WerAngstWolf, featuring Bruno Ganz. While Klopfenstein’s work is scheduled at the beginning of the Festival (August 3, 4 and 5, Teatro Kursaal), another surprise is coming on the penultimate day, August 12, at the Auditorium FEVI. The Cinémathèque suisse has another unmissable proposition, L’Inconnu de Shandigor, a cult film from 1967: director Jean-Louis Roy works on genre with irony and inventiveness, with an antihero in the shape of Von Krantz, an unusual mad scientist (in that he wants to save the world, not dominate or destroy it), and Serge Gainsbourg as a “leader of bald people”, ripe for rediscovery. Especially when seen in the 4K restoration made by the Cinémathèque suisse using the original 35mm negative as a starting point.

Lastly, in between those two names, we have the festival-wide retrospective, with the Cinémathèque playing a role as always. In this case, the films of the young German Federal Republic presented a fairly complex challenge, which was overcome.

Boris Sollazzo

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