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Introduction of the festival by it's Director Frederic Maitre

61st Locarno Film Festival Introduction from Frédéric Maire, Artistic Director

"After the festivities of the 60th anniversary, the 61st Locarno International Film Festival promises to be more lively and sassy than ever. The Festival is both streamlining - in its programming - and developing: two exhibitions, two books published, a totally revamped space for receptions and discussions around the superb Magnolia at the entrance to the Piazza, a «PardoWay» to facilitate socialising and good times, day and night, new spaces and communications infrastructure for professionals, new lighting on the Piazza Grande and finally the introduction of electronic sub-titling for films in the two feature film competitions. Nonchalantly padding along, our sexagenarian leopard- redesigned last year - is more dynamic than ever.

The streamlined programme aims to show all the films - without exception - in the best possible light, which serves them best, in terms of both the public audience and the professionals; from the Piazza Grande to the experimentations in Play Forward, fromthe international Competition to the Leopards of Tomorrow and including theFilmmakers of the Present Competition, Ici & Ailleurs and Open Doors. Thus clarified, the Festival allows more room for one of the essential components of the Locarno Spirit: encounters - organised or fortuitous - between filmmakers and their audiences.

Taking a closer look at the kind of films we are showing this year, the Festival, more than ever, demonstrates its sensitivity to our times and trends in our world; so many films that, directly or indirectly deal with major political and social themes. And often do so through the smallest unit in common: the family, or rather, what's left of it, that is to say, absent parents and lost children, rejected by a society that is completely adrift.

Another sign of the times: the confrontation between man and nature, ecology and sustainable development, are also very present. And although the programme on the Piazza Grande this year offers several journeys into the past, it is always in order to talk about the present, our reality, be that via action films, melodramas, opera films or literary adaptations.

A sign, too, of a major evolution in cinema, is the blurring of borders between documentary and fiction to the extent of mixing up genres and audience perceptions, in a joyous indecision that is doubtless beneficial to the renewal of film form.

Two of the filmmakers we are celebrating this year - Amos Gitai with the Leopard of Honour and Nanni Moretti through a complete retrospective, a book and an exhibition - are superb examples of this: their respective filmographies represent a formidable body of work that always brings us face to face with a present that concerns us all, between the purest fiction to elements of reality, between a disenchanted present and a future that will however, let us hope, enchant us, in the cinema, at least."

Frédéric Maire, Artistic Director

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