Where the Leopard runs
Win the Golden Leopard – and then? What happens to the films that take Locarno’s coveted Pardo d’oro award?
The films that triumph at Locarno weaves a web of global cinema. Over the past five years, the Golden Leopard winners have had remarkable subsequent careers which show not just how insightful our juries often are, but also how their selections enjoy a highly positive response in festival programs worldwide. The Locarno Festival has always provided a home for an idea of cinema based on research, unique voices and often avant-garde expression. The last five Pardo d’oro laureates have carried forward that idea into the 21st century with renewed vigor. From Albert Serra to Wang Bing, award-winning cinema at Locarno offers a glimpse of the future for an art form that still has plenty to say. Their auteur voices have found an echo at major festivals such as the Busan IFF, which brought triumph for Hong Sang-soo and an international platform for Wang Bing, Ralitza Petrova and Albert Serra, or Mar del Plata, another prestige venue for Bing, Diaz and Serra. These are voices that have also found favor with audiences, as witnessed by the domestic box office success for Jigeumeun matgo geuttaeneun teullida (Right Now, Wrong Then), Pardo d’oro at Locarno68. But let us review the winners’ careers in order.
Summer of 2013: Albert Serra, Història de la meva mort. After picking up the Pardo d’Oro, the Spanish film went on to take a Gaudí Award for best costumes and was a competition entrant at the Munich Film Festival before going on a world tour to France, Portugal, Belgium, Brazil and the USA.
One year later in Locarno came the moment for Mula sa kung ano ang noon (From What Is Before), by Lav Diaz (2014). Three hundred and thirty-eight minutes of film that went on to enjoy a long-lasting life on the global festival circuit, from St. Petersburg to Brisbane via London, Hong Kong, and New York, garnering a further seven prizes and nine nominations, including for best director at the Asian Film Awards 2015.
In 2015 Locarno gold stayed in Asia with Jigeumeun matgo geuttaeneun teullida (Right Now, Wrong Then), and once again for Hong Sang-soo’s film the prize was a catalyst for a highly successful run of 12 festival wins and 10 nominations, above all in Asia, together with impressive distribution across four continents in theaters (Brazil, France, Japan, Mexico, USA...) and on TV (Australia, China and Switzerland). In August 2016 the Leopard came back to Europe for Godless by Ralitza Petrova. Again, Locarno was unquestionably the launching pad for deserved critical success, as the Bulgarian feature confirmed its international potential with 22 prizes around the planet, from Mumbai to Reykjavík, and no less than 14 nominations, including two at the 2016 Toronto IFF. Lastly, the 70th Locarno Festival bestowed the main prize on Mrs. Fang by Wang Bing. The Chinese director’s work has already been distributed on his home market and in Poland, France, and the United Kingdom, following an ongoing world tour that has included Toronto, Singapore, and Vladivostok and will soon visit other major Festivals in Europe.