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Opening night Locarno Film Festival starts with tribute

People watching an outdoor movie

Movie lovers were not put off by the rain on the opening day of the festival.

(Keystone / Urs Flueeler)

The 72nd Locarno Film Festival kicked off on Wednesday with a tribute to Swiss film critic and historian Freddy Buache, who passed away earlier this year. Known as “Monsieur Cinéma”, Buache was director of the Locarno festival from 1966 to 1970.

The festivalexternal link will run until August 17, featuring more than 200 films from 60 countries, and is expected to attract audiences of up to 8,000 people per evening at the city’s central Piazza Grande outdoor venue.

Lili Hinstin is marking her first year as the festival’s artistic director, describing the event as a “symbol of daring, originality and freedom”. Swiss culture minister Alain Berset on Wednesday praised the festival for being “different” and “unconventional”.

On the opening evening, the Italian tragicomedy “Magari” celebrated its world premiere in Locarno.

The international film competition starts on Thursday with 16 works, including a documentary film from Syria, competing for the prestigious Golden Leopard prize.

Swiss director Fredi M. Murer will receive a “Leopard” next week to commemorate his life work in cinema. US Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank will receive an honorary Leopard while South Korean cult actor Song Kang-ho is due to receive this year's Excellence Award.

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