Continuity and innovation are the buzzwords at the 70th Locarno International Film Festival, which officially opens today. Eighteen films are competing for the Golden Leopard, Locarno’s top prize.
The 11-day festival external linkin southern Switzerland opens on the Piazza Grande, one of the world’s largest open-air screening venues seating 8,000, with the family drama Tomorrow and Thereafter by French director Noémie Lvovsky.
The huge city square will also showcase Charlize Theron kicking butt in the Cold War spy thriller Atomic Blonde by David Leitch, as well as the romantic comedy The Big Sick by director Michael Showalter.
Swiss films will also be gracing the open-air screen, such as The Song of Scorpions by Geneva director Anup Singh. This love story, based in Rajasthan in Indian, stars Indian actor Irrfan Khan and Iranian actress Golshifteh Farahani.
A documentary by Zurich director Kevin Merz exploring the turbulent story of Swiss rock legends Gotthard will close the festival.
Other Swiss films will be competing in the prestigious international category, such as Goliath, a drama by Dominik Locher. In her new documentary Welcome to Switzerland, Sabine Gisiger investigates events in Oberwil-Lieli, a small wealthy Aargau commune which hit the headlines in 2015 after the local mayor refused to take in a dozen refugees.
Piazza Grande programme
- TOMORROW AND THEREAFTER by Noémie Lvovsky, France
- LOLA PATER by Nadir Mokneche, France
- THREE PEAKS by Jan Zabeil, Germany/Italy
- LET THE CORPSES TAN by Hélene Cattet and Bruno Forzani, Belgium/France
- SPARRING by Samuel Jouy, France
- GOOD TIME by Ben Safdie, Joshua Safdie, USA
- STORIES OF LOVE THAT CANNOT BELONG TO THIS WORLD by Francesca Comencini, Italy
- WHAT HAPPENED TO MONDAY? by Tommy Wirkola, Britain
- DOG by Samuel Benchetrit, France
- ICEMAN by Felix Randau, Germany/Italy/Austria
- THE SONG OF SCORPIONS by Anup Singh, Switzerland/France
- THE BIG SICK by Michael Showalter, USA
- I WALKED WITH A ZOMBIE by Jacques Tourneur, USA (1943)
- ATOMIC BLONDE by David Leitch, USA
- SICILIA! by Jean-Marie Straub, France (1999)
- GOTTHARD - ONE LIFE, ONE SOUL by Kevin Merz, Switzerland
Two other documentary highlights include Milo Rau’s The Congo Tribunal, which examines the causes and background to the ongoing war in the Great Lakes region, and Favela Olimpica, by Samuel Chalard, which presents the contrasting faces of Rio de Janeiro’s 2016 Summer Olympic preparations and life in the Vila Autódromo favela.
This year the Locarno festival is not only celebrating its 70th edition but will also be inaugurating a series of new cinemas such as the PalaCinema, which has three brand new screens, and the historic GranRex, which has been totally renovated.
The Locarno festival will also pay homage to cinema greats such as French director Jacques Tourneur (1904-1977), German actress Nastassja Kinski, American actor Adrien Brody and directors Jean-Marie Straub and Mathieu Kassovitz, who will receive special awards in the Italian-speaking city.
This year the organisers are also launching a series of public conferences with well-known personalities from different fields, such as the former Swiss prosecutor Carla Del Ponte, Canadian musician Peaches and the English astrophysicist Ben Moor.
(Translated from French: Simon Bradley), swissinfo.ch