Trent'anni di GiochiGiochi Senza Frontiere: Trent'anni di Giochi is an Italian language book written by Gianni Magrin and published by Edizioni Centrooffset of Bologna, Italy.

This publication does not appear to be available from mainstream Italian booksellers, but can be ordered direct from the publisher. Anyone interested should visit their website about the book:

www.librogiochisenzafrontiere.it


The JSFnetGB Book Review
by Mike Peters
GIOCHI SENZA FRONTIERE:
TRENT'ANNI DI GIOCHI

(Jeux Sans Frontières: Thirty Years of Games)

I wasn't too sure what to expect when I decided to get a copy of Gianni Magrin's history of Jeux Sans Frontières. I will admit that the thought of what it contained filled me with some excitement. So when the parcel arrived in my postbox, the initial surprise was the size of the book itself. My expectation had been to find a kind of coffee table sized tome, but this book was far more substantial than that. I got the feeling that this was the product of a lifetime's work, striving to collect the necessary research and produce as thorough a document as possible. This was no flimsy paperback - this was a beautifully bound and designed hardback that was a labour of love for the writer and a panacea of delights for the reader - and I hadn't even opened it yet!

One word of warning in getting this book - don't be put off if, like me, your standard of Italian is downright nil. This fact should not deter you, and your appreciation of all things Knockout will take you through where your translation skills cannot.

The book covers more than two hundred pages and tells the reader it contains thirty years of games, thirty years of stories, thirty years of friendship and thirty years of Europe. The first chapter tells the story of the origins of Jeux Sans Frontières. It talks about Campanile Sera, an Italian fore runner of JSF, and the original French version of the show, Intervilles. Magrin then gives a chronological history of JSF up to 1982 and the return of the series from 1988 to 1999. He also covers special programmes such as the Christmas shows. But it is more than just a case of who did what, where and when, as the author also provides details of designs for sumptuous sets, added to details concerning referees and the rules of the competition and much much more.

The second chapter tells of the particpating nations of JSF and the section about Great Britain impresses me given that I'm sure that Magrin had sparse information to work with. He does spend more time writing about the shows made by S4C for Wales between 1991 and 1994, but that is no criticism given that he provides adequate space to mention all the nations who took part and gives a short history of their successes.

Chapter Three details the behind-the-scenes stories of shows produced in Italy. The author goes into great detail and I appreciated the information about shows I remember, such as Montecatini Terme in 1978 and Urbino in 1982. Chapter Four is probably the best of all in the book as it contains personal testimonies from Italians who played in editions of JSF from 1971 to 1997. I applaud Magrin for his herculean efforts in locating all the people who contributed, including Italian presenter Ettore Andenna, who also wrote the foreword for the book, the legendary designer, Popi Perani, and one half of Europe's greatest double act, Guido Pancaldi.

The final chapter is a comprehensive set of results - I must point out it doesn't cover everything, but I consider it to be as full a review of the classifications as was available at the time of publication. I must make mention of what is the best part of this book and that is the stupendous set of photographs of teams, games in action, sets and locations that are wondrous to the eye. Personal favourites include the team of referees (including the great Arthur Ellis) all photographed together prior to the 1978 Grand Final; the boxing chimpanzees at Milan in 1975; Stuart Hall introducing team captains with their jokers at Northampton in 1974 and a fantastic shot of the Camelot set at Blackpool from 1976.

In conclusion, I will admit that this book is for aficionados of Jeux Sans Frontières, and it would interest me to know of the book's sales figures since its publication in 2004. It has confirmed a lot of what I knew, either via my own knowledge or through the JSFnetGB site, but there were many new revelations to be found also, such as Great Britain's Mike Swann having been an International Referee from 1988 to 1990. If, like me, you love all things JSF, I would recommend you take a look at this fine book and devour its delicious written and photographic contents. I commend Gianni Magrin for his sterling efforts in compiling such a splendid book. My Italian is, as I said, somewhat poor, but perhaps my overall thoughts and feelings for this book could be described as 'bellimissima'!

by Mike Peters