Locarno gets underway
by Geneviève Rossier, Françoise Deriaz
05/08/2009 - On August 5, the 62nd Locarno International Film Festival starts unveiling its 2009 selection and will announce the prize-winners on August 15.
To mark the Centenary of Film Music, the festival will open with Fredi M. Murer’s Vitus [trailer, film focus] (2006), followed by a concert by Teo Gheorghiu (who plays the young virtuoso musician). He will be accompanied by a symphony orchestra led by Mario Beretta, who composed the film’s score.
The Piazza Grande screenings (see news) will open with Marc Webb’s 500 Days of Summer, followed by Amos Gitai’s The War of the Sons of Light Against the Sons of Darkness.
In competition, 18 films are vying for the Golden Leopard, including 14 world premières. Among them are Frédéric Mermoud’s Complices [trailer, film focus] (“Accomplices”, France/Switzerland); Filippos Tsitos’ Akadimia Platonos (Greece/Germany); Santiago Loza’s La Invención de la Carne (“The Invention of Meat”, Argentina); and Babak Jalali’s Frontier Blues (Iran/UK/Italy).
The jury is composed of Jean-Marie Blanchard (France), Pascal Bonitzer (France), Hong Sangsoo (South Korea), Jonathan Nossiter (Brazil, US), Nina Hoos (Germany), Alba Rohrwacher (Italy) and Luis Miñarro (Spain).
The Filmmakers of the Present competition features 17 works, including The Marsdreamers by Swiss director Richard Dindo.
The Here & Elsewhere section – described by festival director Frédéric Maire as a “privileged window on our era” – will present around 30 short and feature-length narrative and documentary films. The line-up includes Après la Chute (“After the Fall”) by Kurdish Iraqi director Hiner Saleem (Beneath the Rooftops of Paris, Vodka Lemon); and Téhéran Sans Autorisation (“Teheran Without Permission”) by Sepideh Farsi, who films everyday life with her mobile phone.
Besides the numerous accolades presented to film personalities (William Friedkin, Martine Marignac, Toni Servillo), a special evening will be dedicated to Polish director Andrzej Wajda, who will be in attendance for the event. This is an opportunity to (re)discover his two latest films, Katyn [trailer, film focus] (2007) and Sweet Rush [trailer] (2009).
China is in the spotlight in the Open Doors section. Workshops and a retrospective will be conducive to meetings between film industry partners, whilst audiences will be treated to a broad panorama of Chinese works.
Another highly-anticipated event is the retrospective Manga Impact - The World of Japanese Animation, organised in collaboration with the National Film Museum in Turin. This will include TV series episodes, shorts, around 30 features, open meetings between audiences and figures from the world of Japanese animation and workshops. Famous director Hayao Miyazaki (Studio Ghibli) will be there to present Pom Poko (1994) on the Piazza Grande.
The Appellations Suisse sidebar will show a selection of 11 titles that stand out in the Swiss film landscape or have won acclaim at international festivals.
The festival is also a partner of the 4th Swiss Cinema Day (August 12). To mark the event, several world premières will screen on the Piazza Grande, including Mihály Györik’s The Valley and Christoph Schaub’s Giulias Verschwinden [trailer, film focus].