Throwback Thursday: Attending The Locarno Film Festival – 70th Edition, August 2017

Invitation to Locarno Film Festival’s Opening Night

The first week of August in 2017 I had the pleasure to live one of the greatest weeks of my life. I was living in Lugano during that time, so I was eager to attend the 70th edition of Locarno Film Festival.

Locarno Film Festival is held annually in Locarno, Switzerland, and it is the most important Swiss film festival. Like the main film festivals (i.e. Cannes, Venice, Toronto…), it screens movies in different sections, both competitive and non-competitive; this includes documentaries, shorts, retrospective programs and avant-garde films. The festival’s main partners are Swisscom, laMobiliare, UBS and Manor, while the municipalities of Ascona and Locarno are the destination partner. The top prize of the festival is the Golden Leopard, which is awarded to the best film in the International Competition, along with other prizes like the Prix du Public (Audience Award) and the Leopard of Honor (Career Achievement). In addition, it awards numerous minor prizes and it also awards the Green Pardo WWF (in collaboration with WWF), praising the movie which best reflects the environmental theme in any of the competition sections. For this edition, the Artistic Director was Carlo Chatrian, who maintained his role until the following year. The President of the Jury was Olivier Assayas, director of masterpieces like Personal Shopper and Sils Maria.

Olivier Assayas, President of the Jury at Locarno Film Festival 70

I got to attend the festival with an accreditation due to the fact that I was working in collaboration with a friend journalist, so I was very happy to watch as many films as possible. I was there almost everyday and traveling from Lugano is about 45 minutes by car; I was thankful for that because hotels are so expensive in Locarno during the Festival week.

Attending the 70th Locarno Film Festival

TOP FIVE Vinyl Records I Own

Part of my vinyl records collection

I have been a vinyl records collector since I was about eighteen. This passion for vinyls probably comes from my maternal grandfather, who was very passionate about classical music; he had a big collection of Decca and Deutsche Grammophon discs that he passed on to my mother. Those are lavish editions, curated in every single detail, and some of them have even a velvet case, so they deserve their own post, which is going to be an homage to my grandpa.

Vinyl records used to be pretty popular when my parents were growing up (we are talking about the 70s and 80s), but they had a decline with the advent of compact discs in the late 80s and in the 1990s decade they lost popularity due to mp3 players entering the market.

Anyway, LPs have always been present at flea markets, which kept selling used records over the years, even though the majority of people were turning to walkman cassette players and CDs. Only in the 2010s did they start a renaissance, when many records from legendary music icons like David Bowie and Elton John were remastered and reissued on the market in vinyl format. This brought many teenagers like myself to be interested in vinyl records, and portable turntables were among the best-selling items, especially online. I have always played records on my parents’ Kenwood stereo, which dates back to the early 90s; it combines a vinyl player, a CD player, radio and cassette players, so I consider it one of my favorite vintage gems.

My collection consists of mainly remastered vinyl pressings, a series of Christmas records and original soundtracks, which are probably the ones I listen to the most.

Today I will focus on my five favorite vinyl records in general; while an original soundtrack and a Christmas vinyl record are included in this list, I will publish articles related to Christmas music and original soundtracks later on. Here is my top five records collection (in no particular order, as I love them all equally!):

1) Songs in the Key of Life – Stevie Wonder (Motown Records, 1976): when I was in my early teens I used to listen to a lot of Stevie Wonder on mp3. I first set my eyes on “Songs in the Key of Life” while watching the Scandal TV show, as in one of the episodes the main character plays it on vinyl. The original LP was probably discontinued when I was searching for it, as I came across used copies only (and they were all very expensive!), so I found it by chance on Amazon a couple of years later, when it was remastered with a standard retail price.

The cover is the same as the original 70s version, the sound quality is exceptional and I love playing it in the summertime, while sipping a glass of wine in the evenings (this is so reminiscent of Scandal’s Olivia Pope, for those who watched the show).

My favorite songs are “Love’s In Need Of Love Today”, “Sir Duke”, “Knocks Me Off My Feet”, “Summer Soft” (Side A) and “Isn’t She Lovely”, “If It’s Magic” and “As” (Side B).

Songs in the Key of Life won Album of the Year at the Grammys in 1977 and in my opinion it is the album that represents Stevie Wonder’s music at its best. This edition includes also a 45 rpm bonus record.


It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life Of Love And War – Lynsey Addario

My Betmar hat + Lynsey Addario’s memoir

“Trying to convey beauty in war was a technique to try to prevent the reader from looking away or turning the page in response to something horrible. I wanted them to linger, to ask questions.”

On August 19th we celebrated World Photography Day so I thought to review one of my favorite books about one of the most acclaimed conflict photographers.

“It’s What I Do: A Photographer’s Life of Love and War” is Pulitzer-prize winning war photographer Lynsey Addario’s autobiographical memoir, published in 2015. She narrates her own story about being a freelance war photographer and documenting the hardest moments of the human condition. The book starts off with her being kidnapped by government forces in Libya but it is sort of a cliff-hanger because the narration of this brutal episode remains “suspended” almost until the end of the book. First we get to see her childhood, her falling in love with the camera and the hardships of building and nourishing relationships while being a war correspondent.

We witness through her words the beginning of her career in South America and her documenting of women in Afghanistan during the Taliban regime. She recounts how she managed to gain the trust of Afghan women, who allowed her to capture moments from their everyday life; the pictures she took during that time are evocative of the historical period Afghanistan was experiencing. Addario shows her respect towards these women as human beings rather than treating them as “objects” to photograph, and I think this shows her sensibility and empathy both as a professional photographer and a person with moral and spiritual values. The photos showcasing her talent and dedication are shown in three glossy sections in the middle of the book, which are also filled with amazing images from her home life. “I found that the camera was a comforting companion. It opened up new worlds, and gave me access to people’s most intimate moments. I discovered the privilege of seeing life in all its complexity, the thrill of learning something new every day. When I was behind a camera, it was the only place in the world I wanted to be.”


Portrait Of A Dog – (Angelina) Jolie


I have alway seen Jolie as a fox. She is a Pomeranian mix but I have never encountered a dog quite like her and I find her beautiful. Her golden coat color, light eyes, huge ears and fox-like expression make her a pretty unique dog.

She is originally from the Italian Southern region of Calabria; having been rescued from a landfill, where she was found alongside her dead mother, she lived with a volunteer until my father’s partner adopted her via an ad she saw on Facebook. She was still a puppy when she first came home (and not the most beautiful one, I will admit!) and she grew up to be a lively, playful dog; she is so beautiful in her own unique way.

Jolie is one of our two most hyperactive dogs (the other one is Byron, and I shall talk about him later on). She loves running and playing in the garden, barks a lot (especially towards unfamiliar dogs passing by) and loves being in the company of humans. She is affectionate when she chooses to be, as she can’t stand when people touch her tail; when this happens, she tries to bite you in a playful way!

She’s found a mother in the figure of Grace, our Irish setter who is now about ten years old; having arrived home when she was a few months old, Jolie has learned to identify Grace as her mom, she often “kisses” her and it’s almost like she’s searching for love and protection when interacting with her.