Films of all genres at a festival without borders
by Emmanuel Cuénod
11/07/2012 - He announces it frankly: The 65th edition of the Locarno International Film Festival, to be held between August 1 and 10, will be "an adventure". When the festival's French director for the third year running Olivier Père (read the interview) says it, the word takes on a particular meaning. It will, above all, be a film lover's adventure, the discovery of new auteur filmmakers but also, and perhaps especially, of new ways of telling stories on the big screen.
"Several works we have selected evolve on the borders of two genres," he said. "Besides the more classic narratives, we will also have cinematographic essays and documentaries whose tone is very free."
The festival's programme is therefore to be very open to new filmmakers. Besides some very familiar names, such as French cinema's enfant terrible Jean-Claude Brisseau, who is back with La fille de nulle part (lit. "The girl from nowhere"), Canadian-Swiss documentary filmmaker Peter Mettler, who will screen his much-awaited The End of Time, and Nicolas Pereda, who was spotted in 2010 at the Venice Film Festival and who has been selected with Los Mejores Temas (lit. "The best themes"), most other filmmakers who have been selected this year are unknowns. Locarno is set to be the scene of a major come-back for independent American cinema. Despite paradoxically being hardly distributed and often absent from the biggest international festivals, American films are to hold the lion's share in this year's competition, with no less than six titles running in the International Competition (Craig Zobel's Compliance, Bradley Rust Gray's Jack and Diane, Bob Byington's Somebody Up There Likes Me, Sean Baker's Starlet and, to a certain extent, the following co-productions: Leviathan by Lucien Castaing-Tayloret, Verena Paravel, and Museum Hours by Jem Cohen).
Switzerland is also to figure prominently. Apart from The End of Time, another Swiss film is competing in the main section: Image Problem, Simon Baumann and Andreas Pfiffner's first feature-length documentary. Festival-goers are also to discover Christoph Schaub's much-awaited Nachtlärm, Michael Steiner's Das Missen Massaker (lit. "The Miss Massacre"), and Markus Imhoof's More than Honey on the Piazza Grande, among many other enticing surprises in the programme. Among these, in no particular order, are Wrong, Quentin "Rubber" Dupieux's new film, Magic Mike by Steven Soderbergh, Motorway by Soi Cheang, a Johnnie To production chosen as part of the festival's homage to him, and The Sweeney by turbulent British film director Nick Love. Add to all this a retrospective of Otto Preminger's work in its entirety except for one film that cannot be screened, a Filmmakers of the Present sidebar section with a new award, revised and extended short film competitions, a Leopard of Honour for Leos Carax, an Excellence Award to Charlotte Rampling, and a Raimondo Rezzonico Award for Best Independent Producer for Arnon Milchan - who has worked with Sergio Leone, Martin Scorsese, and even Terry Gilliam -, and one only just starts to get an idea of the frenetic activity to animate the usually calm shores of Lake Maggiore this August.
(Translated from French)