4 Things Not to Miss in Locarno

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Classic Hollywood meets European chic at the Swiss film fest on Lake Maggiore.

Old-School Hollywood
"This year marks the return of stars, the return of Hollywood glam and high-level artistic films -- it's what Locarno has always symbolized for audiences," says Olivier Pere, artistic director of the Locarno International Film Festival in Switzerland. The Aug. 3 to 13 event will feature a retrospective of Vincente Minnelli's films, including a gala screening of the late director's An American in Paris and a visit from Leslie Caron, star of the 1951 musical. The glamorous Caron, 80, will present her autobiography, Une Francaise a Hollywood, followed by a Q&A to be moderated by French Cinematheque director Serge Toubiana.

Tentpoles on the Piazza
Locarno's vast open-space screening area the Piazza Grande will welcome several current Hollywood films including J.J. Abrams' Super 8,  Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis comedy Friends With Benefits and Cowboys & Aliens, which will see stars Harrison Ford, Daniel Craig and Olivia Wilde and director Jon Favreau head to town for a gala showing. "If you look at the festival's first years after the war, there was always this balance of stars and auteur cinema," Pere says of the A-list talent expected at the 64th edition of the fest at the foot of the Alps. "That's what people like, and that's what they expect from Locarno."

Spike's Skeletal Short
In case you missed To Die by Your Side when it premiered at the Cannes International Film Festival in May (and chances are you did because it wasn't announced as part of the Official Selection), Spike Jonze, Simon Cahn and Olympia Le-Tan's whimsical short film will screen at Locarno. The six-minute pic, filmed in stop-motion animation, was inspired by Le-Tan's embroidered accessories made from first editions of classic books. Jonze, who provides the voice for the skeleton lead character, won't be in town, but Le-Tan, who doubles as a jet-setting DJ, will be.

Le Baron on Le lido
French nightclub Le Baron will set up shop at Lido Locarno for a festlong fete. Director Abel Ferrara will host a bash to celebrate his Lifetime Achievement Award; Excellence Award winner Isabelle Huppert will join sponsor Moet & Chandon for bubbly; and there will be a soiree for Mike Cahill's Sundance hit Another Earth, featuring a concert by U.K. indie group Fall on Your Sword. The club's location at the Lido -- a bathing and swimming complex along the shores of Lake Maggiore -- provides a low-key, scenic place for pros to gather for schmoozing and dancing as business mixes with pleasure.