Gray skies can't cloud Locarno's 'Lesson'

Alessandro Baricco film screens at Piazza Grande

LOCARNO, Switzerland -- The 61st Locarno Film Festival entered the home stretch under cloudy skies Monday, with the Piazza Grande screening of Alessandro Baricco's "Lesson 21" threatened by rain that mostly stayed away.

After a weekend of near-perfect weather that resulted in three consecutive sold-out nights in the 8,500-seat Piazza Grande, Monday's crowd for Baricco's examination of a professor's dreamlike lesson about Beethoven was smaller but enthusiastic.

"The Eternity Man," Julien Temple's graphic comedy about an out-of-luck war veteran in Australia, served as the evening's nightcap.

Several of the festival's sidebars began winding down Monday, as the event heads for its gala awards presentation Saturday. The festival got under way Wednesday.

Tuesday will see "Marcello Marcello," a Swiss-made coming-of-age story set in Italy in the Piazza Grande, along with screenings of six of the 17 competition films, including two world premieres.