Locarno Film Festival Unveils Lineup

Netflix thriller 'Beckett,' starring John David Washington, and John Swab's action film 'Ida Red' are among the major U.S. productions that will have their world premiere at the Swiss festival in August.

The Locarno International Film Festival has unveiled the lineup for its 2021 edition, to be held in person from Aug. 4 through Aug. 14.

Ferdinando Cito Filomarino’s Italian-set thriller Beckett, starring John David Washington, Alicia Vikander and Vicky Krieps, will have its world premiere on Locarno’s legendary open-air Piazza Grande, as will John Swab’s actioner Ida Red, starring Melissa Leo, Frank Grillo and Josh Hartnett. Netflix is releasing Beckett worldwide, with Universal handling Ida Red.

Other studio titles in the Locarno’s Piazza Grande lineup include Disney’s Free Guy, the Shawn Levy-directed action-comedy starring Ryan Reynolds and Jodie Comer; and Liesl Tommy’s Aretha Franklin biopic Respect, starring Jennifer Hudson and produced by MGM.

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Hinterland from Oscar-winning director Stefan Ruzowitzky (The Counterfeiters), Stefan Jäger’s Monte Verità, Bassel Ghandour’s The Alleys, Alessandro Rak’s Italian feature Yaya e Lennie —The Walking Liberty, and Rose, the directorial debut of French actor Aurélie Saada, are among the international highlights of the Piazza Grande program. Vortex from French enfant terrible Gaspar Noé, which will premiere in Cannes, and Kim Ji-hoon’s Sinkhole have also secured Piazza Grande slots.

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Locarno’s Concorso Internazionale, the festival’s main arthouse sidebar, will feature 17 world premieres, including Abel Ferrara’s Zeros and Ones starring Ethan Hawke and Cristina Chiriac; Gerda, from Russian actor-turned-director Natalya Kudryashova; Srdjan Dragojević’s Nebesa (Heaven’s Above); and Soul of a Beast from Swiss director Lorenz Merz (Cherry Pie).

Among the highlights of the Concorso Cineasti del Presente lineup of first and second films are the debuts Mostro by Mexico’s José Pablo Escamilla, Actual People from U.S. filmmaker Kit Zauhar and Swiss feature Wet Sand by Elene Naveriani, as well as Niemand Ist Bei den Kälbern from promising German director Sabrina Sarabi (Prélude) and Streams, the sophomore effort of Thala My Love helmer Mehdi Hmili.

Like most international film events, Locarno last year was forced to move its program online due to the coronavirus pandemic.