'L'Avvocat' debuts at Locarno fest

Weekend's festivities included John C. Reilly tribute

LOCARNO, Switzerland -- The world premiere of "L'Avvocat" (The Counsel), a thriller written and directed by France's Cedric Anger, was the highlight Monday at the Locarno Film Festival, where it screened in a packed Piazza Grande on a day dedicated to French film.
The film tells the story of a young, ambitious attorney, played by Benoit Magimel, who unwittingly gets involved in the affairs of a mob boss, played by Gilbert Melki. Magimel, Melki and Anger were all on hand for the screening, where they charmed the crowd before hand.
In his comments before the film, Locarno artistic director Olivier Pere also broke sad news to the crowd, announcing that French actor Bruno Cremer had died the previous day at the age of 80.
The day's events also included a roundtable on French film and an invitation-only party to celebrate French film at Locarno's lakeside Lido.
The day's activities follow an action-packed weekend that featured a Saturday tribute to actor John C. Reilly, followed by a Piazza Grande screening of Jay and Mark Duplas' "Cyrus," which stars Reilly in one of the leading roles. Reilly also participated in a Sunday morning forum event, where he spoke about his career so far.
Sunday was partially dedicated to the Open Doors' focus on central Asian films, highlighted by the Piazza Grande screening of "Svet-Ake" (The Light Thief), from Kyrgyzstani actor/director Aktan Arym Kubat. The screening was followed by the screening of "Rubber" -- an unlikely love story between a pretty girl and a car tire –from France's Quentin Dupieux. "Svet-Ake" and "Rubber" showed the Cannes pedigree from second-year artistic director Pere, who came to Locarno from his former job as the head of Cannes' Directors Fortnight sidebar: both were first seen earlier in the year in Cannes.
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