The Locarno International Film Festival last week released their line-up for the 2014 festival, including a plethora of new films, retrospectives and festival honours.
The festival will run this year from the 6th -16th of August. Locarno falls in the European festival circuit between Cannes and Venice, tending to allow for smaller films to come to the fore in the midst of the heavyweights of Cannes and Venice. The festival is mostly known for its Piazza Grande open-air screenings, which seats over 8 000 people and features one of the world’s largest open-air screens.
The festival includes an International Competition, Concorso Cineasti (highlighting the first and second films from emerging directors), an Out-of-Competition selection, a Short Film Competition and the Open Doors section, which focuses each year on a specific region. This year’s Open Doors features films on Sub-Saharan Africa.
Locarno typically functions as a discovery festival, launching new trends, films and careers – for example, Roberto Rossellini’s Rome, Open City screened at the first ever festival in 1946. This generally means that many of the titles in the line-up will be unknown to even the most avid of festival-circuit followers.
There are a few familiar faces however – Jean-Luc Godard’s Goodbye to Language will be screening out of competition, as will Thom Andersen’s latest offering, The Tony Longo Trilogy and some competition heavyweights such as Lav Diaz and Pedro Costa will be recognisable names to ardent cinephiles. Sydney audiences will have the chance to catch Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens Land Ho! at the Possible World’s Film Festival before it screens outdoors at the Piazza Grande at Locarno, alongside Luc Besson’s Lucy, starring Scarlett Johansson. Cannes-attendees will recognise Tony Gatlif’s Geronimo, which updates West Side Story, and Olivier Assayas’ Clouds of Sils Maria.
The festival also features an enormous retrospective section, which this year has turned its gaze to Agnes Varda, Li Han-hsiang, Victor Erice and Jean-Francois Amiguet, offering tributes to the filmmakers, as well as screening a variety of retrospectives in its Histoire(s) du Cinema section, from Charlie Chaplin’s Modern Times (presented with live musical accompaniment by the Orchestra della Svizzera italiana) to Dario Argento’s Gli Incubi di Dario Argento , a television mini-series of nine three-minute episodes. Like Melbourne International Film Festival, Locarno has also programmed tribute to the career of actor Jean-Pierre Léaud, including Godard’s Masculin féminin, and Francois Truffaut’s Two English Girls, and cinematographer Garret Brown, screening several films including Hal Ashby’s Bound for Glory and Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. The festival will also be screening a mammoth fifty-five films as part of a retrospective on Titanus, one of the oldest Italian film production companies.
The festival also traditionally screens in a side-bar films associated with the members of its juries. This year the festival has programmed Diao Yinan’s Black Coal, Thin Ice, Eric Rohmer’s Autumn Tale, Olivier Assayas’ Demonlover and Oussama Mohammed and Wian Simav Bedirxan’s Silvered Water, Syria Self-Portrait, among others.
Locarno will be honouring Juliette Binoche with the Excellence Award – in addition to Clouds of Sils-Maria, the festival will also screen Krzysztof Kieslowski’s Three Colours: Blue and Abbas Kiarostami’s Certified Copy in her honour.
Armin Mueller-Stahl will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, prompting screenings of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Lola, George Sluizer’s Utz and Scott Hicks’ Shine. Mia Farrow will be presented with the Leopard Club Award, which last year went to Faye Dunaway, and will be accompanied by a conversation session with the actress.
You can find the full line-up here.