Locarno Film Fest to Pay Tribute to Italy's Titanus Studios With Retrospective

The studio focus is an unusual move for the festival's well-regarded retrospective section, usually dedicated to a single director.

ROME – The Locarno Film Festival announced Tuesday it would host a retrospective dedicated to Italy's Titanus film production studio.

Titanus, which Locarno referred to as the European equivalent of Metro Goldwin Mayer or 20th Century Fox, was founded by Gustavo Lombardo in 1904 and continues to produce films today. But the retrospective will focus on the so-called Golden Era of Italian film, starting from the end of World War II through the 1960s.

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The studio was behind productions from iconic figures like Federico Fellini, Luchino Visconti, Dino Risi, and Ermanno Olmi with star-studded casts that featured the likes of Alberto Sordi, Marcello Mastroianni, Vittorio Gassman, Sophia Loren, Gina Lollobrigida, and Claudia Cardinale.

Though the full lineup for the retrospective has not been released, the festival did say it would screen Risi’s romantic comedy series Bread, Love, and … (Pane, amore, e…) and Poor But Beautiful (Poveri ma belli).

Locarno’s retrospectives are well regarded among festival goers, but it is unusual for the event to focus on a studio. Usually, the retrospectives look at the work of a single director, including George Cukor, Otto Preminger, Vincente Minnelli, and Ernst Lubitsch, respectively, over the last four years.

Carlo Chatrian, the festival’s artistic director, cut his teeth at the festival curating the retrospectives before being named to his current position ahead of last year’s event.

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Chatrian said the focus on Titanus was a way to examine the history of Italian cinema. "The idea of telling the story of Italian film through the country’s biggest 'dream factory' … relates to our project of re-reading the past that has become a characteristic of the festival’s programming," he said. "To explore the world of Titanus is to explore that crucible of popular and auteur cinema as they intersect and feed each other."

The 67-year-old lakeside Swiss event takes place this year from Aug. 6 to 16.

Twitter: @EricJLyman