News from the Locarno Festival

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“L’Ombre des femmes” by Philippe Garrel



The issue of having quotas for women seems to have landed with some force in the festival world. Two things need to be said from the start. It’s true there is a minority of women behind the camera (in some countries, like Japan, their numbers are embarrassing). But selecting a film made by a woman for reasons of principle is not the best way to help bring change to the system. And are we so sure that a film depends only on its director anyway? Asking the question are two films in this year’s programme, written by women and bearing their unmistakable trademark (Ricki and the Flash and Trainwreck).

Thanks to a panel organized in collaboration with Focal – which will analyse the success of films directed, produced or written by women – Locarno will be confronting the issue, and on a day dominated by women. I’m thinking first and foremost about the moving film in the form of dialogue that Chantal Akerman has dedicated to her mother, but also about the two titles in the Concorso Cineasti del presente, both directed by women. Olmo & the Seagull, in particular, deals with a closely related theme, how to reconcile motherhood with career ambitions.

Before the day closes with a tribute to Bulle Ogier – much more than an actress, she was an accomplice to directors both male (Rivette) and female (Duras) – we have the screening of a film that in my opinion is one of the strongest moments of this season. L’Ombre des femmes, the latest work by Philippe Garrel, will be introduced by his two fantastic stars, Stanislas Merhar and Clotilde Courau.

Carlo Chatrian
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