Argentinian-Swiss film Abrir puertas y ventanas (Back to Stay) has won Locarno's Golden Leopard grand prize.
Milagros Mumenthaler’s tale of three sisters dealing with the death of the grandmother who had raised them was also the Fipresci critics’ choice for Best Film. Maria Canale picked up Best Actress for her performance as one of the sisters. (See trailer)
There were 20 films in the international competition and jury chair Paul Branco described the winning film as “a complete success” and a “mature” first feature. Argentinian-born Mumenthaler, who lived in Switzerland until the age of 17, also wrote the screenplay.
Another family drama, this time set in a surreal hospital, picked up the other big prizes. Romanian-Hungarian entry Din Dragoste cu cele mai bune intenti (Best Intentions) won the Best Director award for Adrian Sitaru and Best Actor for Bogdan Dumitrache. (See panel for list of awards.)
The Swiss documentary about asylum seekers, Vol Spécial (Special Flight), was awarded the Ecumenical Prize. The film was still a talking point on the last day of the festival, with international competition jury chair Branco saying director Fernand Melgar had wanted to exploit a difficult issue in Switzerland.
The awards were announced before the closing world premiere of the 64th edition of the festival on Locarno’s Piazza Grande on Saturday night. The film on show, Et si on vivait tous ensemble, tells the story of a group of elderly friends who move in together to avoid going to a retirement home. It features Jane Fonda in her first appearance in a French film in 40 years.
It wrapped up the ten-day festival’s mix of around 200 films and 60 shorts and including around 40 world premieres. The most popular on the Piazza Grande’s big screen was blockbuster Cowboys & Aliens, which had 7,600 spectators. The least favourite, American thriller flick Red State, managed just 2,200.
Jessica Dacey in Locarno, swissinfo.ch