Comedy director John Landis, whose credits include classic hits such as National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), The Blues Brothers (1980), and Trading Places (1983), is set to receive the Locarno International Film Festival lifetime achievement honor, the Pardo d’onore Manor award.
While known for his film credits, his career seemed to come to a halt in 1982 when he was filming Twilight Zone. Landis and his film crew cut some legal corners and an accident happened on set, where three people (two child actors and Vic Morrow) died when a helicopter being used for a scene crashed. Since then, Landis continued to make films, such as 1985’s Into the Night, as well as being the director and co-writer of Michael Jackson’s Thriller video, a job he got after Jackson saw American Werewolf in London. Landis is known as one of the first directors to bring the alternative American comedy scene of the 1970s into mainstream cinema.
According to Deadline, Landis will receive the award on Saturday, August 13th at Locarno’s Piazza Grande. The festival will screen three of his films during the festival: Animal House, Trading Places, and the 1992 vampire crime comedy Innocent Blood (1992). Landis will also take part in a Q&A session with the Locarno audience.
Locrando artistic director Giona A. Nazzaro stated, “John Landis is a genuine American genius. The all-consuming cinephile passion, slapstick music, irresistible gags, and visceral attachment to the B movie ethos, combined with acute critical sensibility and political awareness, made him a key figure in the renewal of American filmmaking between the Seventies and the Nineties. He hybridized horror and comedy, musical and noir, in a way never seen before. The resulting masterpieces captured enthusiastic audiences around the world, drawn by his fresh new filmic language and the challenges to conventional morality. Landis showed that you could do it all and dream it all, and in so doing he made cinema better, fairer, more inclusive”.
Previous winners of Locarno’s Pardo d’onore award include Ken Loach, Bernardo Bertolucci, Jean-Luc Godard, Werner Herzog, and Agnès Varda.