email print share on Facebook share on Twitter share on LinkedIn share on reddit pin on Pinterest

LOCARNO 2024

Locarno announces its competition selection

by 

- 16 of the 17 films vying for the Golden Leopard are European (co-)productions by established auteurs such as Wang Bing and Ben Rivers and emerging talents like the Zürcher brothers and Virgil Vernier

Locarno announces its competition selection
Cent-mille milliards by Virgil Vernier

The 77th edition of the Locarno Film Festival, which will unfold from 7-17 August, intends to highlight the potential of the cinematic medium, capable of involving and dialoguing with a large and curious public, but without necessarily looking for elite-level productions that flirt with pure experimentation. Always at the service of auteur cinema, as highlighted by its artistic director Giona A Nazzaro during the announcement of the full selection (read news on the Piazza Grande, Cineasti del presente and Semaine de la Critique sections), the festival, and more particularly the films of its International Competition, which includes a beautiful bouquet of well-known names, presents itself as ambitious “without ever giving up on pleasure”.

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

For this edition, the first with Maja Hoffmann as president, there are 225 films, almost half of which are world premieres and 5 are international premieres. 15 debut features are competing for the Swatch First Feature Award. This year, many women are honoured: great director, screenwriter and producer Jane Campion (Honorary Leopard), American producer Stacey Sher (the Raimondo Rezzonico Award), French actress Mélanie Laurent who with her compatriot Guillaume Canet will receive the Campari Excellence Award, and French-Swiss actress Irène Jacob (the Leopard Club Award). Iconic Indian actor and producer Shah Rukh Khan will instead receive the prestigious Career Leopard.

Amongst the European productions and co-productions in International Competition, which includes a total of 17 films, as many as 5 are French: Cent-mille milliards, the third feature by Virgil Vernier, already selected in Locarno in 2018 in the Cineasti del presente section with Sophia Antipolis [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Virgil Vernier
film profile
]
; Youth (Hard Times) by Chinese filmmaker Wang Bing, winner of the Golden Leopard in 2017 with Mrs. Fang [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, the second volume in his documentary series that began with Youth (Spring), presented in competition last year in Cannes; Transamazonia by South African director Pia Marais (Tiger Award at the 2007 IFFR for The Unpolished [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
) which plunges us in the heart of the Amazonian forest where ancestral beliefs, religious fervour and economic interests coexist; the intriguing Agora, the third feature by established Tunisian filmmaker Ala Eddine Slim (Lion of the Future at Venice 2016 for The Last of Us), in which three people who were thought to have disappeared forever reappear mysteriously in a village in Tunisia; and Green Line, the first feature by Sylvie Ballyot, whose particular cinematic language, between realism and oneirism, has already been recognised at the international level.

Switzerland is instead present with two films, The Sparrow in the Chimney, an intriguing and conflictual story of two sisters, from the great Zürcher brothers (Ramon directs while Silvain produces), whose The Girl and the Spider [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Ramon Zürcher and Silvan Zü…
film profile
]
won the Best Directing award at the 2021 Berlinale in the Encounters section; and the co-production Fire of Wind, the debut feature by Portuguese director and artist Marta Mateus. Italy and Lithuania are also present, thanks to three and two films respectively: Luce by Silvia Luzi and Luca Bellino, already known as an artistic duo; Weightless [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, the debut feature by Sara Fgaier, the story of an ethno-musicology professor grappling with terrible amnesia, and the co-production New Dawn Fades, the second feature by Turkish filmmaker Gürcan Keltek, which plays with the limits of human perception; and Toxic [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, Saulè Bliuvaitè’s debut feature, and Drowning Dry, the second feature by Laurynas Bareisa (after Pilgrims [+see also:
film review
interview: Laurynas Bareisa
film profile
]
, Best Film in Orizzonti at Venice 2021), which observes the reactions of the members of a family confronted with a tragic event.

Also in attendance will be British artist and filmmaker Ben Rivers with Bogancloch, a film midway between documentary and fiction which continues to observe his character Jake Williams, a man who has been living in the middle of a forest for decades; Kurdish-Austrian director Kurdwin Ayub (Best Debut Feature at the 2022 Berlinale for Sonne [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Kurdwin Ayub
film profile
]
) with Moon, an intriguing second feature which follows a former professional kickboxer; German director Christoph Hochhäusler with his new film after Till the End of the Night [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Christoph Hochhäusler
film profile
]
, awarded in competition at last year’s Berlinale, La mort viendra, which pays homage to the French police film genre (the so-called “polar”); and the Catalan filmmaker Mar Coll with Salve Maria, a drama about fragile maternity with touches of psychological horror. The new film by South Korean director Hong Sangsoo, By the Stream, closes the selection.

Out of competition, 10 of the 11 films are European productions or co-productions. France dominates here as well with three (co)productions: Dragon Dilatation by the always intriguing Bertrand Mandico, Ma famille chérie by actress and screenwriter Isild Le Besco which stars, amongst others, Jeanne Balibar, Elodie Bouchez and herself, and La passion selon Béatrice by Belgian filmmaker Fabrice Du Welz which, between documentary and fiction, draws the portrait of explosive actress Béatrice Dalle. Representing Switzerland, meanwhile, there will be Samir and his new docu-film La prodigiosa trasformazione della classe operaia in stranieri and Belgian-Swiss filmmaker Bruno Deville with his mountain series Espèce menacée. There are also two Romanian films out of competition, both signed Radu Jude: Eight Postcards from Utopia, a documentary assembled exclusively from ads from post-socialist Romania co-directed with Christian Ferecz-Flatz, and Sleep #2, a kind of remake of Andy Warhol’s Sleep, as described by the filmmaker himself. Also out of competition, veteran filmmaker Marco Tullio Giordana, who presents his film La vita accanto, adapted from the homonymous novel by Maria Pia Veladiano. Finally, as for European (co)productions, we also find Telepathic Letters by Portuguese director and filmmaker Edgar Pêra and Fréwaka [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
, a horror film by Belfast-based filmmaker Aislinn Clarke.

Finally, Mexican director Alfonso Cuarón will receive the Lifetime Achievement Award.

The selected films:

International Competition

Moon Kurdwin Ayub (Austria)
Green Line Sylvie Ballyot (France/Lebanon/Qatar)
Drowing Dry Laurynas Bareisa (Lithuania/Latvia)
Toxic [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
Saulé Bliuvaité (Lithuania)
Salve Maria – Mar Coll (Spain)
Weightless [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
Sara Fgaier (Italy)
La mort viendra – Christoph Hochhäusler (Germany/Luxembourg/Belgium)
New Dawn Fades – Gürcan Keltek (Turkey/Italy/Germany/Norway/Netherlands)
Luce – Silvia Luzi, Luca Bellino (Italy)
Transamazonia – Pia Marais (France/Germany/Switzerland/Taiwan/Brazil)
Fire of Wind – Marta Mateus (Portugal/Switzerland/France)
BoganlochBen Rivers (UK/Germany/Iceland)
By the Stream – Hong Sangsoo (South Korea)
AgoraAla Eddine Slim (Tunisia/France/Saudi Arabia)
Cent-mille milliards – Virgil Vernier (France)
The Sparrow in the Chemney – Roman Zürcher (Switzerland)
Youth (Hard Times) – Wang Bing (France/Luxembourg/Netherlands)

Out of Competition

Fréwaka [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
Aislinn Clarke (Ireland)
Espèce menacée – Bruno Deville (Switzerland)
La passion selon Béatrice – Fabrice Du Welz (France/Belgium)
Bang Bang – Vincent Grashaw (USA)
Sleep #2 – Radu Jude (Romania)
Eight Postcards from Utopia – Radu Jude, Christian Ferencz-Flatz (Romania)
Ma famille chérie – Isild Le Besco (France)
Dragon Dilatation – Bertrand Mandico (France)
Telepathic Letters – Edgar Pêra (Portugal)
La prodigiosa trasformazione della classe operaia in stranieri – Samir (Switzerland/Italy)
La vita accanto – Marco Tullio Giordana (Italy)

(The article continues below - Commercial information)

Did you enjoy reading this article? Please subscribe to our newsletter to receive more stories like this directly in your inbox.

Privacy Policy