French Auteur Leos Carax to Receive Locarno's Leopard of Honor

Leos Carax - P 2012
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Carax returned to making feature films after a 13-year hiatus this year with 'Holy Motors,' which screened in competition in Cannes. Locarno will feature Carax's entire filmography at this year's edition.

ROME – The Locarno Film Festival will present the festival’s prestigious Leopard of Honor award to French director and sometimes critic Leos Carax, part of the auteur’s high-profile return to the active participation in the film world.

In addition to the Piazza Grande honor, organizers said they will screen all five of Carax’s feature-length films: Boy Meets Girl from 1984, Mauvais Sang (Bad Blood) from 1986, Les Amants du Pont-Neuf (The Lovers on the Bridge) from 1991, 1999’s Pola X, and this year’s Holy Motors, plus the 2008 collaborative film Tokyo! in which Carax contributed the segment Merde. Aside from the segment Merde, Holy Motors is notable as Carax’s first feature project in 13 years, and it was well received, competing for the Palme d’Or honor at the Cannes Film Festival in May.

The day after being presented with the Leopard of Honor, Carax will participate in a special round-table discussion platform with Locarno film fans.

Third-year Locarno artistic director Olivier Pere called Carax “one of the world cinema’s greatest creatives.” Pere added, “The superb Boy Meets Girl and Bad Blood remain the most convincing aesthetic manifestos of the 1980s, The Lovers on the Bridge a dream of poetic cinema of unequalled ambition while, for me, Pola X, stunning in its beauty, sincerity and scope, is Leos Carax’s masterpiece.”

With the award, Carax will join the prestigious list of previous recipients for the award from the picturesque lakeside Swiss festival that includes Manoel de Oliveira, Bernardo Bertolucci, Ken Loach, Jean-Luc Godard, Abbas Kiarostami, Aleksandr Sokurov, Hou Hsiao-hsien, William Friedkin, Alain Tanner, and Jia Zhang-ke.

In terms of audience reception, the provocative Carax will have a tough act to follow. Last year, the honor was presented to iconoclastic director Abel Ferrara, who thrilled the massive Piazza Grande crowd by unexpectedly pulling out his guitar and breaking into song, sparking a standing ovation.

This year’s edition of the Locarno festival, the 65th, will take place August 1-11.