Locarno Taps Thai Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul to Head Main Jury

The lakeside Swiss festival picks trend-setting auteur whose films have been honored in Cannes, Venice.

ROME – The Locarno Film Festival announced Thursday that iconoclastic Thai-born director, screenwriter and producer Apichatpong Weerasethakul would head the international jury at this year’s edition of the lakeside Swiss festival.

Weerasethakul’s short career has been filled with prestigious honors, including winning the 2010 Palme d’Or in Cannes for Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives; 2004 Cannes jury prize winner Tropical Malady; Syndromes and a Century, the first Thai film to screen in competition at the Venice Film festival in 2003; and Blissfully Yours, which won the Un Certain Regard sidebar in Cannes in 2002.

“In just a few magnificent films … Apichatpong Weerasethakul has been a major revelation in world cinema,” Locarno artistic director Olivier Pere, said in a statement announcing Weerasethakul’s selection. “The Thai filmmaker, whose poetic and dreamlike films blend his country’s national legends, a sensual feel for the physical and natural world as well as new narrative and visual styles borrowed from contemporary art, has invented a mutant form of cinema that completelyoverturns our viewing habits and takes us into unexplored areas that verge on the sublime.”

The 41-year-old Weerasethakul will head the jury that will hand out the festival’s top Golden Leopard prize at the 65th edition of storied festival, which will run this year Aug. 1-11.

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