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From the 2nd to 12th of August the passion for movies will light up Locarno, turning the Swiss city into the capital of the Seventh Art. The 76th edition of the Locarno Film Festival is set to be as bold and vibrant as ever, with a program that will see cinema engaged in conversation with both its history and its future, and with other forms of art and communication.
Alongside the official selection, British actor Riz Ahmed was named the recipient of the Excellence Award Davide Campari, which will be awarded on the opening night, August 2nd.
Giona A. Nazzaro, artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival: “Ahmed is a brilliant and versatile talent in cinema today. Chameleon-like, he can move from blockbuster to auteur movies, equally at ease on stage or TV, rapping with a mic or intervening as executive producer. Already with one Academy Award under his belt, not to mention a pile of other prizes, he is the embodiment of a kind of cinema that is becoming better, more receptive, finally able to listen to new voices. Riz Ahmed is the face of a future finally becoming possible.”
Ahmed joins a long list of prestigious prize winners already announced for the 76th edition: Harmony Korine for the Pardo d’onore Manor, Pietro Scalia for the Vision Award Ticinomoda, Luc Jacquet for the Locarno Kids Award la Mobiliare, Marianne Slot for the Raimondo Rezzonico Award, Tsai Ming-liang for the Pardo alla carriera Ascona-Locarno Tourism and Renzo Rossellini as winner of the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Other guests due to attend Locarno, alongside names already announced, such as Lambert Wilson, presiding over the Concorso internazionale jury, and Cate Blanchett, scheduled to appear in Piazza Grande on 12th August to present Shayda together with the film’s director Noora Niasari and female lead Zar Amir Ebrahimi, are: Deva Cassel, Lav Diaz, Quentin Dupieux, Noah Galvin, Molly Gordon, Ted Hope, Sandra Hüller, Radu Jude, David Krumholtz, Edoardo Leo, Nick Lieberman, Ken Loach, Joe Lovano, Bertrand Mandico, Ben Platt, Barbet Schroeder and István Szabó, among others.
17 films, including 9 world premieres, will be screened in Piazza Grande, Locarno’s extraordinary open-air theater that accommodates a nightly audience of up to 8,000 people.
“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), Frederic 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.” Giona A. Nazzaro (hereafter G.A.N).
The Concorso internazionale explores new territories in moviemaking. This year’s selection of 17 titles, all world premieres and one as an international premiere, will be competing for the Pardo d’oro.
“From Quentin Dupieux and his edgy surrealism to Lav Diaz. From the sarcastic humor of Radu Jude to the night poetry of Sylvain Georges. From the mad inventions of Rainer Sarnet 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 Tehran 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, 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.” G.A.N.
Concorso Cineasti del presente
The Concorso Cineasti del presente selection, dedicated to discovering the cinema of tomorrow, comprises 15 films: first and second features, all world premieres.
“As many as eight of the 15 films in the selection are directed by women. 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]), teenage 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.” G.A.N.
Pardi di domani
The competition dedicated to short films by international emerging talents is flanked by that dedicated to Swiss short films, with the main prizes sponsored by Swiss Life, and by auteur shorts competition Concorso Corti d’autore to screen a total of 40 films, all presented as world premieres. The selection is completed by the collection of short films made during the Spring Academy, led this year by director Radu Jude.
“Pardi di domani is cinema designed for the future. Through the expressive power of the short format, disruptive voices of tomorrow's cinema undermine the security of forms, explode genres, explore unsuspected possibilities, and redefine the sphere of the political: the body as the true battleground of contemporaneity, memory as resistance, and the violence of society as the accused to be exposed eye to eye. And even more: the visions of Bertrand Mandico, the freedom of Syllas Tzoumerkas, the fierce poetry of Catarina Vasconcelos are just some of the great names that crown the selection among Corti d’autore” Eddie Bertozzi, Head of Pardi di domani Selection Committee.
The Fuori concorso section features 12 films, of which 11 are world premieres, from outstanding directors’ intent on exploring new possibilities in filmic narration.
“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” G.A.N.
Histoire(s) du cinéma
Unprecedented perspectives on movie history with 18 films, including prestigious restored titles, valuable rediscoveries and works that have become part of the collective imagination.
“Espectáculo a diario – Las distintas temporadas del cine popular mexicano” (“Spectacle Every Day – The Many Seasons of Mexican Popular Cinema”) will offer an intensive investigation of Mexican filmmaking from the 1940s to the end of the 1960s, covering decades hallmarked by astonishing creativity and peppered with stars of the silver screen and one-of-a-kind directors who were an inspiration for generations. This year’s Retrospective is curated by Olaf Möller, in collaboration with Roberto Turigliatto. A collection of essays in Spanish and English to accompany the event, curated by Jorge Javier Negrete Camacho and Alonso Díaz de la Vega, will be published by Les éditions de l’Œil.
Locarno Kids: Screenings
A rite of passage into the movies, with 8 titles for children and teenagers, featuring exclusive premieres, golden oldies, and forays into the world of animation.
“The offer dedicated to our future audience is enriched with the presentation of world premieres such as We Have a Dream by Pascale Plisson, a documentary on inclusion, and the space-time adventures through Finnish ice holes in Räkä ja Roiskis (Snot & Splash) by Teemu Nikki. We will celebrate D’Alò’s 70th anniversary with the presentation of the Italian dubbing of Mary e lo spirito di mezzanotte, ranging from the best animated films of the year to the Oscar-winning filmmaker Luc Jacquet, who will present his latest journey through the Antarctic, accompanied by his penguins, and receive the Locarno Kids Award la Mobiliare. From learning to watch, we will transition to starting to do through workshops for children, which are increasingly stimulating and future-oriented.” Daniela Persico, member of the selection committee.
Open Doors Screenings
In the second of three years dedicated to cinemas in Latin America and the Caribbean, Open Doors will offer an overview of the most interesting independent productions from its current focus region. For the Open Doors Screenings, this year’s focus will be on film from South American continent, with 18 long, medium and short films, of which one is a world premiere.
Semaine de la critique
Locarno’s Critics’ Week features 7 full-length documentaries as world or international premieres, selected by the Swiss Association of Film Journalists.
A selection of titles representing the state of the art in Swiss cinema, chosen by representatives from SWISS FILMS, the Solothurner Filmtage and the Swiss Film Academy.
Tickets and Festival passes for the 76th Locarno Film Festival can be purchased through the Ticket Shop. The Festival's official App will also once again be available, useful for viewing the program, managing your entry tickets for screenings, consulting news and voting for the Prix du Public UBS. In order to meet the needs of the public, tickets will be available for purchase in the days leading up to the Festival until a few minutes before the screenings. Seats in the screening venues will not be assigned. From this year’s edition, every form of admission to the Festival (single ticket, Day pass, Festival pass, accreditation) will entitle the holder to freely use public transportation in the whole of Canton Ticino for the period of its validity. This initiative has been made possible thanks to our valuable partnership with Swiss train operator FFS.
Excellence Award Davide Campari
The Excellence Award, supported since 2021 by Campari, lists among its laureates in recent years a line-up of outstanding film personalities, with names of the caliber of Susan Sarandon, John Malkovich, Willem Dafoe, Michel Piccoli, Anjelica Huston, Carmen Maura, Isabelle Huppert, Gael García Bernal, Charlotte Rampling, Giancarlo Giannini, Edward Norton, Bill Pullman, Mathieu Kassovitz, Ethan Hawke, SONG Kang-Ho, Laetitia Casta and, in 2022, Aaron Taylor-Johnson.
The award is named after Davide Campari, a creative pioneer who understood the power of cinema to push boundaries beyond the norm.
From his early appearances on the independent scene in films such as The Road to Guantanamo (Mat Whitecross, Michael Winterbottom, 2006), Four Lions (Christopher Morris, 2010) and The Reluctant Fundamentalist (Mira Nair, 2012), to his mainstream breakthrough with hits like Nightcrawler (Dan Gilroy, 2014), Rogue One: A Star Wars Story (Gareth Edwards, 2016) and Venom (Ruben Fleischer, 2018), Ahmed has proven able to reconcile the laurels garnered in a high-profile career – not least the Best Actor Oscar nomination for his performance in Sound of Metal (Darius Marder, 2019) – with deep, ongoing social and political engagement against racism and all forms of intolerance. Born into a British-Pakistani family, Ahmed has also followed a parallel career in music, making rap another medium for his personal message. That twofold talent is reflected in the work chosen by the actor to accompany this tribute, a movie he also produced and co-wrote: Mughal Mowgli (Mogul Mowgli, 2020) by Bassam Tariq, screening on Thursday, August 3rd at the GranRex. Ahmed subsequently co-wrote, produced and starred in The Long Goodbye (2021) with director Aneil Karia, which accompanied his studio album of the same name. Ahmed and Karia went on to win the Academy Award for Best Live Action Short Film in 2022. Finally, during the award ceremony on Wednesday 2 August in Piazza Grande, the latest short film he participated in, Dammi (2023) by Yann Mounir Demange, will be premiered.