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When the last element of the mosaic finds its place, the Concorso internazionale of the 76th Locarno Film Festival reveals itself as a frame that, in the long shot, presents itself as a possible image of the world and, in the close-up detail, as a possibility of possible conversations, dialogues to be thought and invented. While recent events certainly do not leave much room for optimism, cinema helps us to imagine - literally "put into images" - a possibility of the world.
For this reason, while being aware of the historical moment in which our work has plunged, we have searched and looked in many directions, trying to grasp the meaning of a present that, despite everything, offers itself rich and exciting.
A moment that we have attempted to grasp and recount by dialoguing with the films we have selected.
From Quentin Dupieux and his edgy surrealism to Lav Diaz. From the sarcastic humor of Radu Jude to the night poetry of Sylvain George. From the mad inventions of Rainer Sarnert to the abstract psychedelia of Eduardo Williams. From the bittersweet comedy of Bob Byington to the Italian revelation of Simone Bozzelli. From the debut of Leonor Teles to the dreams of Ena Sendijarević. From the ominous and dark Teheran of Ali Ahmadzadeh to the tourist resorts of Sofia Exarchou. Not to forget Dani Rosenberg's praise of desertion and Annarita Zambrano's extravagant anarchy. And again, the voices of brand-new women such as Laura Ferrés and the Ukrainian Maryna Vroda, who has finally made it to feature film.
Switzerland is represented by Basil Da Cunha, one of the most original voices - a protagonist of the renewal of Swiss cinema.
The world in all its expressions and manifestations is present in the Locarno selection. And therefore, cinema and all its possibilities. All still to be discovered.
If the Concorso internazionale is the present, then Cineasti del presente is the future. The work of identifying the 15 films that made up the selection program was long and exciting. As many as 8 of the 15 films in the selection are directed by women. And once again, all the colors of cinema are represented: wild erotic comedies (On the Go), surreal and metaphysical reflections on life and death (Hao jiu bu jian [Dreaming and Dying]), disturbing musings on the potential of desire and power (Touched), lunar thrillers (Xi du [West Border]), coming-of-age novels in the form of a macabre dance (La Morsure), dreamy, ironic poems about the end of the world (Camping du Lac), reflections on the possibilities of cinema (Und dass man ohne Täuschung zu leben vermag), and forays into the present of the Indian subcontinent (Rimdogittanga [Rapture]) and Whispers of Fire & Water). Not to forget Family Portrait, the debut of the very talented Lucy Kerr. Among these talents, it is already possible to identify the cinema of tomorrow.
Great popular cinema and more will take center stage in the Piazza Grande.
Between rediscoveries of classic cinema, such as Daniel Schmid's La Paloma (1974) restored and brought back to life, Federico Fellini's La città delle donne (1980) and an abstract and metaphysical thriller like Falling Stars by Richard Karpala and Gabriel Bienczycki already destined to be a cult film, the Piazza will welcome Sandra Hüller (Anatomie d'une chute), Ken Loach (The Old Oak), Deva Cassel and Yile Vianello (La bella estate), Edoardo Leo (Non sono quello che sono - The Tragedy of Othello di W. Shakespeare), Frédéric Mermoud (La voie royale), the cult movie Theater Camp from Sundance and finally Cate Blanchett as executive producer of Noora Niasari's film Shayda starring Zar Amir Ebrahimi.
The Fuori concorso is dedicated to the great masters: our beloved Paul Vecchiali will be present with the beauty of his latest film, presented by his favorite friend and actor, Pascal Cervo. Barbet Schroeder, Franco Maresco and Denis Coté will present their latest works. Lovers of genre cinema will be able to discover the delights of the Filipino action film Topakk (Triggered), the teenage vampires of Naples and the mysteries of the mind of What Remains.
Now the only thing left to do is to meet again in Piazza Grande!
Giona A. Nazzaro
Artistic Director of Locarno Film Festival