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Peter-Christian Fueter Honor, Preminger Retrospective Highlight Locarno Friday

Otto Preminger - P 2011
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The winner of the Carte Blanche initiative also announced in the last full day in Locarno before Saturday's award ceremony.

LOCARNO, Switzerland – The last full day at the Locarno Film Festival was highlighted with a Piazza Grande double bill featuring comedic horror film Das Missen Massaker (The Swiss Miss Massacre) from native son Michael Steiner and Bonjour Tristesse, Otto Preminger’s 1958 classic.

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On Friday, Locarno officials also announced the winner of the Carte Blanche initiative focusing on new Mexican productions, and it presented the festival's final career honor to Swiss producer Peter-Christian Fueter.

Friday was the most important day yet for the festival’s well-regarded retrospective of Preminger’s work. In addition to Bonjour Tristesse, the festival also screened Preminger’s Laura to a standing-room-only crowd in the Ex-Rex Cinema, as well as Anatomy of a Murder, Where the Sidewalk Ends, Skidoo, and The Human Factor.

But the screening of Bonjour Tristesse, a dark and twisting upper-crust love story, was the day’s highlight, screening in the festival’s famous Piazza Grande before nearly 8,000 fans, with an introduction from Mylene Demongeot, now 76, who played Elsa in the film, a key supporting role.

“This film is like a great wine that gets better as it gets older,” Demongeot said ahead of the screening.

Before Bonjour Tristesse, the second film on the double bill, the evening had a Swiss accent, with the award to Fueter, who called the Locarno festival “the most beautiful in the world” in a meandering address that switched between Italian, English, French, and German, and the screening of Das Missen Massaker, the first Swiss film to screen in the Piazza Grande this year. Another Swiss film, More Than Honey, a documentary from Markus Imhoof, will close the festival on Saturday.

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Locarno artistic director Olivier Pere called Das Missen Massaker the “most original Swiss film in the horror genre,” before introducing the film’s energetic cast dominated by around a dozen blond pinup girls.

Earlier in the day, the three-person jury for the Carte Blanche initiative, gave its award to Las Lagrimas (The Tears) from Pablo Delgado Sanchez and produced by Guillermo Ortiz Picharo. The win earned the film a cash award of 10,000 Swiss francs (about $10,100) plus arranged introductions with international sales agents and festival programmers who participated in the festival’s Industry Days market event.

“Las Lagrimas was chosen for its freshness, its optimism, change of sensibility tone and risky personal proposal,” the jury’s statement about the film said.

The 65-year-old festival started August 1.