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Locarno Fest Lineup: Hong Sang-soo, Paz Vega Films, Honors for Mélanie Laurent

The Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland has revealed a diverse lineup for its 77th edition, running from Aug. 7-17. The festival will feature 225 films in total, including 104 world premieres and five international premieres. Debut features and new films from directors like Hong Sang-soo, Spanish actress Paz Vega, and Radu Jude are included. Gianluca Jodice’s “Le Déluge,” starring Mélanie Laurent and Guillaume Canet, will have its world premiere and open the festival. Both Laurent and Canet will be honored with the Excellence Award Davide Campari on the opening night.

Apart from new films, this year’s Piazza Grande section will showcase festival favorites and classics. Films scheduled for screening include Cannes hits like Laetitia Dosch’s “Dog on Trial,” Mohammad Rasoulof’s “The Seed of the Sacred Fig,” and Claude Barras’ “Savages.” Classics such as Jane Campion’s “The Piano,” the world premiere of the 4K restored director’s cut of Tarsem Singh’s “The Fall,” and Jean-Luc Godard’s “A Woman Is a Woman” will also be featured.

New offerings include world premieres like Vega’s directorial debut “Rita” where she also appears, “Mexico 86” starring Bérénice Béjo, directed by César Díaz, and Gianluca Jodice’s “Le Déluge” featuring Laurent as Marie-Antoinette and Canet as Louis XVI, focusing on the last days before their execution. Additionally, Steven Spielberg’s “E.T.” will be screened as a pre-festival event on Aug. 4.

The Concorso Internazionale, or international competition, will see films competing for the Pardo d’Oro, or Golden Leopard. Notable entries include “Timestalker” directed by and starring Alice Lowe, “Bogancloch” by Ben Rivers, “Der Spatz im Kamin” by Ramon Zürcher, and Wang Bing’s “Qing Chun (Ku)” also known as “Youth (Hard Times).”

Locarno’s Concorso Cineasti del Presente sidebar, focusing on first and second features, will showcase films such as “Invention” by Courtney Stephens, Iva Radivojević’s “When the Phone Rang,” and “Crickets, It’s Your Turn” by Olga Korotko. Meanwhile, in the Fuori Concorso section, a designated space for experimental genres and storytelling forms, films like the U.S. entry “Bang Bang,” starring Tim Blake Nelson and directed by Vincent Grashaw, and a tribute to Andy Warhol’s “Sleep” from Radu Jude, will be featured.

The festival will also honor Canadian auteur Denis Côté with a contribution to Locarno’s Pardi di Domani section. This section highlights short and medium-length films with a focus on experimentation and innovative forms. Additionally, a 10-film homage to late avant-garde U.S. filmmaker Stan Brakhage will be part of the program.

Artistic Director Giona A. Nazzaro praised the competition’s diversity, saying, “From well-established film directors to emerging voices, the competition is a deep immersion into the possibilities of contemporary film language.” Nazzaro highlighted the non-competitive sections as well, emphasizing contributions from filmmakers like Edgar Pêra, Radu Jude, and Marco Tullio Giordana.

Nazzaro noted that 34.9 percent of the films in the selection are directed by female filmmakers. In the Concorso Internazionale, this includes eight out of 17 films (47.1 percent), and in the Cineasti del Presente program, seven out of 15 films (46.7 percent). In the Pardi di Domani lineup, female filmmakers account for 18 out of 40 films (45 percent).

Indian superstar Shah Rukh Khan will receive the festival’s lifetime achievement award, the Pardo alla Carriera, on Aug. 10. French-Swiss actress Irène Jacob will be honored with the Leopard Club Award on Aug. 9 for her contributions to contemporary cinema. Veteran indie producer Stacey Sher will receive the Premio Raimondo Rezzonico Award for best independent producer on Aug. 8.

Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner will serve as jury president for the Concorso Internazionale section, responsible for selecting the winner of the Pardo d’Oro, the Golden Leopard.

Source: Variety