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Locarno to Pay Tribute to 'My Fair Lady' Director George Cukor at 2013 Festival

George Cukor in 1940
George Cukor in 1940

The festival, now under the artistic direction of Carlo Chatrian, also named its new programming team.

ROME – The Locarno Film Festival announced Monday that My Fair Lady director George Cukor would be the subject of the 66-year-old festival’s retrospective section at next year’s event.

The picturesque lakeside Swiss festival also announced its new programming team, which will be headed by Canadian film critic Mark Peranson, who splits his time between Berlin and Vienna.

The festival has drawn attention in recent years for well-rounded retrospectives, which over the last three editions focused on Ernst Lubitsch, Vincente Minnelli, and Otto Preminger, respectively. All three of those retrospectives were organized by curator Carlo Chatrian, who was in September nominated to take over as the festival’s artistic director after the surprise departure of Olivier Pere.

With Chatrian’s big promotion, the retrospective will be organized by Italian critic Roberto Turigliatto. But Chatrian’s tastes are still evident in the selection of Cukor, who, like Lubitsch, Minnelli, and Preminger, helped shape the post-war period in Hollywood. In addition to My Fair Lady, which won him an Oscar for best director in 1965, Cukor was nominated for the same Oscar four times before that for Little Women (1934), The Philadelphia Story (1941), A Double Life (1948) and Born Yesterday (1951).

Cukor, who died in 1983 at the age of 83, is also known for directing some of Hollywood’s greatest leading ladies, including Greta Garbo (in Camile, from 1936), Judy Garland (in A Star is Born, in 1954), Marilyn Monroe (in Let’s Make Love, from 1960), Sophia Loren (in Heller in Pink Tights, in 1960), Jane Fonda (in The Chapman Report, in 1962 and The Blue Bird, from 1976), Audrey Hepburn (in My Fair Lady, from 1964), and Katherine Hepburn (in Holiday, from 1938, The Philadelphia Story, in 1940, and Adam’s Rib, from 1949).

Cukor’s complete works will screen in Locarno. There will also be workshops and discussions about the director’s career of more than 50 years.

“For some years now the festival has undertaken a re-reading of classical American cinema, showing how much it still has to say to us today,” Chatrian said in a statement. “Following the retrospectives devoted to those who left Europe for America or who have looked at Europe from America, I felt it was an opportune moment to culminate this exploration with one of the purest examples of consummate art and craftsmanship of Hollywood cinema.”

The selection of Peranson as the head of programming leaves some continuity from the past. Peranson, who has been a programmer for the Vancouver International Film Festival since 1999, has had a hand in programming in Locarno for the previous three editions of the festival. He is also publisher and editor of the magazine Cinema Scope

Other Locarno programmers announced Monday are Italian journalist Lorenzo Esposito, who has worked previously as a programmer at the festivals in Venice, Turin, and Rome; German-based Italian documentary and experimental film specialist Sergio Fant, who for last year’s festival worked with Locarno’s Leopards of Tomorrow sidebar; and Paris-born journalist and assistant director Aurélie Godet.

The Locarno festival will take place August 7-17, 2013.