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LOCARNO 2011

Locarno gets back to Swiss roots

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Locarno gets back to Swiss roots

Like at the previous edition, Swiss cinema will be well represented at the 64th Locarno International Film Festival. Present at all levels of the event, the number of Swiss productions selected in the competitive sections has even risen slightly compared to 2010. Out of the twenty or so films screening this year in International Competition, three will fly the Swiss flag.

In her debut feature Open Windows, Open Doors, Argentinean-born Milagros Mumenthaler, who graduated from the Buenos Aires Film School, tells the story of three young sisters who have to cope with the death of their grandmother who brought them up.

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Also in the selection, Mangrove [+see also:
trailer
film profile
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marks the second major collaboration between Julie Gilbert and Frédéric Choffat. After co-writing Real Life Is Elsewhere in 2006, they’ve repeated the experience by co-directing this narrative feature which tells the story of a woman who returns to the South Pacific Coast.

The third and final Swiss film in International Competition, Fernand Melgar’s Special Flight could in a sense be considered a follow-up to The Fortress [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, for which he won the Golden Leopard in the Filmmakers of the Present section in 2008. This documentary plunges viewers into Frambois prison in Geneva, shedding light on the treatment given to undocumented immigrants in Switzerland.

Another documentary by another Locarno regular: Martin Witz’s The Substance shouldn’t go unnoticed in the Filmmakers of the Present section. The film is indeed dedicated to Swiss chemist Albert Hofmann, who is above all known for having accidentally invented LSD.

The Swiss presence at Locarno will nonetheless extend beyond the films in competition. It will also be seen on the giant screen in the Piazza Grande, a magic and focal place, with screenings of Tim Fehlbaum’s German/Swiss co-production Hell, which recently picked up an award at the Munich Film Festival, and the animated short film Romance by the ubiquitous Georges Schwizgebel.

An important tribute will also be paid to Daniel Schmid – who died five years ago just as the festival’s 59th edition was opening – with a screening of his film Shadow of Angels, to be attended by his long-time collaborator Renato Berta and actress Ingrid Caven. The late great Donattelo Dubini will also be honoured by Locarno with a special screening of his final film, The Great Inheritance, co-directed with his brother Fosco.

Locarno will also celebrate Claude Goretta’s career by offering increased visibility to new prints of The Invitation, The Girl from Lorraine and The Lacemaker, all restored by the Swiss Cinematheque, and the screening of Bon Vent Claude Goretta, Lionel Baier’s documentary about the Swiss-French director. This year, the festival will also present its Moët & Chandon Excellence Award to one of the actresses most associated with Goretta’s work, France’s Isabelle Huppert.

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