Press Releases  ·  18 | 06 | 2024

Irène Jacob to Receive the Locarno77 Leopard Club Award

French-Swiss Irène Jacob, one of contemporary cinema’s most beloved talents, will receive the Leopard Club Award at the Locarno Film Festival. The award ceremony will take place at Piazza Grande on the evening of Friday 9 August and be followed the next morning by a public conversation with Jacob at Forum @Spazio Cinema.

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Born in Paris but raised in Geneva, Irène Jacob made her debut in a film no less remarkable than Louis Malle’s Au revoir les enfants (1987), which won the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival. Within a few years, she began the collaboration that would bring her enormous international acclaim and recognition – starring in two major films by the Polish director Krzysztof Kieślowski. Together, they collaborated on his first film outside of Poland, The Double Life of Veronique (1991), and then, several years later, on the final film in his “Three Colors” trilogy (as well as the last film before his untimely death), Trois Couleurs : Rouge (Three Colors: Red1994), which was screened that same year on the Piazza Grande in Locarno. Both roles thrust Jacob into the spotlight, bringing her a wealth of offers from Hollywood and her pick of the finest roles in European cinema. Faced with this, Jacob instead insisted on her own pace and her own terms, slowing down and being selective about her next steps. In the decades since, she has comfortably alternated between performing in both spheres of the industry, moving from the spectacle of Hollywood action films to the quiet, late films of major European auteurs. This year she starred in Shikun by Amos Gitai (Berlinale 2024) and Meeting with Pol Pot by Rithy Panh (Cannes 2024).

During its 77th edition (7-17 August) the Locarno Film Festival will give Jacob the Leopard Club Award 2024, named after the Festival’s official supporting association, and show the classic Trois Couleurs : Rouge (1994) by Krzysztof Kieślowski.

Giona A. Nazzaro, Artistic Director of the Locarno Film Festival: “Irène Jacob is one of cinema’s most mysterious and sublime presences. Her every performance manifests the elusive precision of a presence so completely identified with the film’s images as to become virtually part of the cinematography. Her skill in surrendering herself to the directors’ gaze and then, on the contrary, to vigorously embodying the character, taking charge of it, is the sign of a refined and knowingly instinctual art. Over the course of her career, she has collaborated with highly distinguished auteurs like Krzysztof Kieślowski, Michelangelo Antonioni, Wim Wenders, Theo Angelopoulos, Agnieszka Holland, and Claude Lelouch without renouncing the pleasures of the industry and its entertainments, where she has worked with commercial directors of the caliber of John Badham and Stuart Baird. Irène Jacob has personified with taste and sensitivity the very idea of playing the part, without having ceased her evolution as an artist. Jacob is a veritable treasure of the cinema.

The Tribute Program

Irène Jacob will be in Piazza Grande to receive the award on the evening of Friday 9 August. One key title from her career will be shown during Locarno77:

Trois Couleurs : Rouge by Krzysztof Kieślowski – France, Switzerland, Poland – 1994

On Saturday 10 August at 10:30 am, the public will have a chance to meet with Jacob during a panel conversation moderated by Julie Savary, in collaboration with ARTE France, and held at the Forum @Spazio Cinema.

Leopard Club and Leopard Club Award

The Leopard Club, the official supporting association of the Locarno Film Festival, presents the Leopard Club Award each year to an individual whose work in the film industry has left its mark on the collective imagination. Among the stars who have received this prestigious award are Faye Dunaway, Mia Farrow, Andy García, Stefania Sandrelli, Adrien Brody, Meg Ryan, Hilary Swank, Kasia Smutniak, Daisy Edgar-Jones and, in 2023, Stellan Skarsgård, who declined the award in solidarity with the SAG-AFTRA strike.

Irène Jacob – Biography

Born in Paris in 1966, Irène Jacob moved to Geneva, Switzerland as an infant. She made her stage debut at the age of 11. Studying at the Geneva Conservatory of Music, she earned a degree in languages, which has served her well: she speaks French, English, German, and Italian and regularly performs in international productions that draw on this gift for languages. In 1991, Jacob won the award for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for the film La double vie de Véronique, her breakout international performance. In 1995 she received a BAFTA nomination for Trois Couleurs : Rouge (1994), also directed by Krzysztof Kieślowski, and she was twice nominated for a César, in 1992, for La double vie de Véronique and in 1995, for Trois Couleurs : Rouge. Over a long and varied career, Jacob has worked with filmmakers like Michelangelo Antonioni, Paul Auster, Theo Angelopoulos, Wim Wenders, Agnieszka Holland, Paul Schrader, Claude Lelouch, Rithy Panh, and Amos Gitai. With Gitai, she has collaborated on both stage and screen, most recently on Shikun (2024, which premiered in the Berlinale Special).


The 77th Locarno Film Festival will take place from 7 to 17 August 2024.