The 71st Locarno Film Festival to be characterised by humanism
by Muriel Del Don
- Ahead of the launch of the latest edition of Locarno Film Festival (1-11 August), artistic director Carlo Chatrian talks about cinema as a means of looking each other in the eye
In the run up to the hotly-anticipated 71st edition of Locarno Film Festival (1 to 11 August), artistic director Carlo Chatrian talks about cinema as a means of looking each other in the eye. As mentioned by Chatrian himself (who is preparing for his last year at the helm of the fantastic festival – read the news here) "it seems as though people are afraid to look each other in the eye these days," a warning of sorts to a society that often chooses to take refuge in the virtual world rather than face reality.
And so, for Locarno Film Festival’s artistic director, cinema represents a place where we can deal with the ‘other,’ with the diversity that we tend to dangerously avoid. In this sense, cinema becomes ‘a place where our neighbours can look at us,’ a privileged place where we can observe and be observed with dignity and intensity. It is no coincidence, then, that the 71st edition of Locarno Film Festival has decided to celebrate the seventieth anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, in collaboration with the United Nations.
This year’s edition will also be characterised by a certain light-heartedness, freedom of tone and a desire to make the audience laugh and smile. A way, as Chatrian reminds us, of observing the world with a new and ‘disenchanted’ gaze. Cinema will act as a privileged means of restoring coherence and spirit to a somewhat crumbling society. The film due to open the programme in the Piazza Grande (read more) is consistent with this search for light-heartedness: a live music version of Liberty by Leo McCarey, (1929, starring Laurel and Hardy). Also due to step foot in the legendary Piazza this year is the French director Bruno Dumont, who will receive the Pardo d'Onore. The festival will be attended by numerous guests, some of whom will be coming to Locarno for the first time, including Jean Dujardin (I Feel Good by Benoît Delépine and Gustave Kervern), as well as those who will be making a return trip to the Ticino film capital, such as the director Paolo Taviani, who will be screening a new version of Good Morning Babylon.
The programme at the 71st edition of the festival will be dominated by personal stories made universal through film. The present day resounds in the lives of the protagonists, shifting the viewer's gaze from the intimacy of often-difficult everyday lives to the complexity of our modern times, which seem to be getting out of hand. As is the case for Yara by Abbas Fahdel (director of the epic documentary Homeland (Iraq Year Zero)), Blaze by Ethan Hawke (Excellent Award 2018), Diane by Kent Jones and Alice T. by Radu Muntean. As Chatrian points out, this year's programme will focus on the individual faces of characters in strong and fascinating films, as is the case in the French film M by Yolande Zauberman.
Numerous European films have been selected for the International Competition, including the previously mentioned Alice T. by Radu Muntean, M by Yolande Zauberman and the co-production Yara (Lebanon/Iraq/France) by Abbas Fahdel, but also the Swiss film Glaubenberg by Thomas Imbach, Menocchio by Alberto Fasulo, Ray & Liz by Richard Billingham, Wintermärchen by Jan Bonny and the co-productions A Land Imagined by Yeo Siew Hua (Singapore/France/the Netherlands), Sibel by Çağla Zencirci and Guillaume Giovanetti (Turkey/France/Germany/Luxembourg) and Too Late Die Young by Dominga Sotomayor (Chile/Brazil/Argentina/the Netherlands/Qatar).
The selected films:
A Family Tour – Liang Ying (Taiwan/Hong Kong/Singapore/Malaysia)
A Land Imagined – Yeo Siew Hua (Singapore/France/the Netherlands)
Alice T. – Radu Muntean (Romania/France/Sweden)
Diane – Kent Jones (USA)
Hotel by the River – Hong Sang-soo (South Korea)
Genèse – Philippe Lesage (Canada)
Glaubenberg – Thomas Imbach (Switzerland)
La flor – Mariano Llinás (Argentina)
M – Yolande Zauberman (France)
Menocchio – Alberto Fasulo (Italy/Romania)
Ray & Liz – Richard Billingham (UK)
Sibel - Çağla Zencirci, Guillaume Giovanetti (Turkey/France/Germany/Luxembourg)
Too Late to Die Young – Dominga Sotomayor (Chile/Brazil/Argentina/the Netherlands/Qatar)
Wintermärchen – Jan Bonny (Germany)
Yara – Abbas Fahdel (Lebanon/Iraq/France)
(Translated from Italian)
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