Locarno Fest Unveils Competition Lineup, Will Honor Mia Farrow, Juliette Binoche

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Locarno's Piazza Grande

The latest from Pedro Costa and Alex Ross Perry are among the competition films, while Luc Besson thriller "Lucy" and comedy "The Hundred Foot Journey" with Helen Miren highlight the Piazza Grande slate.

ROME -- The Locarno Film Festival on Wednesday announced a cosmopolitan competition slate dominated by world premieres and featuring the latest from Portugal's Pedro Costa, U.S. indie darling Alex Ross Perry and veteran French filmmaker Paul Vecchiali.

The fest also said it would present career honors to acclaimed thespians Mia Farrow, Juliette Binoche, and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

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The festival's famed Piazza Grande venue, which has Europe's largest silver screen, again features an eclectic mix of pop productions, cerebral fare and classics, including Luc Besson's thriller Lucy -- which stars Scarlett Johansson -- Lasse Hallström's comedy The Hundred Foot Journey, Agnès Varda's autobiographical The Beaches of Agnès (Les plages d'Agnès), and Luchino Visconti's iconic 1963 drama The Leopard (Il gattopardo), considered by many critics to be among the greatest films ever made. Varda will be honored by the festival in conjunction with the screening of her 2008 documentary.

The 67-year-old festival's lineup is lighter on U.S. productions than in past years, with Perry's Listen Up Philip and J.P. Sniadecki's The Iron Ministry a U.S.-China co-production the only American films in competition. The Hundred-Foot Journey, a comedy starring Oscar winner Helen Miren as the head of a posh French restaurant dealing with a down-market Indian eatery that opens across the street, and Land Ho!, a road trip comedy set in Iceland and directed by Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens, are the only two U.S. films screening in the picturesque Piazza Grande.

But that doesn't mean the event will lack for star power for the festival's film fans: In addition to Farrow, Binoche, and Mueller-Stahl, the guest list includes Italian horror master Dario Argento; acclaimed auteurs Víctor Erice of Spain, a career award honoree at the fest, and Russia's Aleksandr Sokurov; actresses Melanie Griffith and Julie Depardieu; and actors Jonathan Pryce and Jason Schwartzman, who stars in Listen Up Philip.

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Other highlights from the competition lineup include the return to Locarno of Argentina's Martín Rejtman, who seems to attend the festival once a decade. After screening Rapado in competition in 1992 and Los guantes mágicos in 2003, he returns this year with Dos Disparos. Costa, a two-time jury prize winner in Locarno, returns this year with Horse Money (Cavalo Dinheiro). All told, 13 of 17 competition films are world premieres (the others are all international premieres). 

The Piazza Grande slate will close with Geronimo, a immigration drama that premiered in Cannes from French filmmaker Tony Gatlif, Dancing Arabs from Israel's Eran Riklis, and a special surprise film and guest to be announced later, set to screen on the penultimate day of the Aug. 6-16 festival. The surprise film is the only remaining piece of the program to be announced.

In addition to the main competition and the Piazza Grande selections, Locarno will feature six separate sections, including the new Signs of Life section, which focuses on "cinema at the frontiers"; the discovery Concorso Cineasti del Presente section; the Pardi di Domani section, for shorts from emerging young filmmakers; the Histoire du Cinema section, which focuses on film history; and Open Doors, which this year focuses on English- and Portuguese-language productions from sub-Saharan Africa and a special retrospective on the famed Italian studio Titanus.

As previously announced, Venice Golden Lion winner Gianfranco Rosi will head the main jury, while Rutger Hauer and Ossama Mohammed will head the juries for the Pardi di Domani and Concorso Cineasti del Presente competitions, respectively.

Locarno's Competition Lineup

A Blast by Syllas Tzoumerkas – Greece/Germany/Netherlands

Alive by Park Jungbum – South Korea

Horse Money (Cavalo Dinheiro) by Pedro Costa – Portugal

Cure: The Life of Another by Andrea Štaka – Switzerland/Croatia/ Bosnia- Herzegovina

Dos Disparos by Martín Rejtman – Argentina/Chile/Germany/Netherlands -

The Fool (Durak) by Yury Bykov – Russia

Fidelio (L'Odyssée d'Alice) by Lucie Borleteau – France

Gyeongju by Zhang Lu – South Korea

The Princess of France (La Princesa de Francia) by Matías Piñeiro – Argentina

La Sapienza by Eugène Green – France/Italy

L'Abri by Fernand Melgar – Switzerland

Listen Up Philip by Alex Ross Perry – United States

From What is Before (Mula Sa Kung Ano Ang Noon) by Lav Diaz – Philippines

White Nights on the Pier (Nuits Blanches Sur la Jetée) by Paul Vecchiali – France

Perfidia by Bonifacio Angius – Italy

The Iron Ministry by J.P. Sniadecki – China/United States

Ventos de Agosto by Gabriel Mascaro – Brazil


Locarno's Piazza Grande lineup (with the dates of the screenings)

Aug. 6 Lucy by Luc Besson – France

Aug. 7 Dancing Arabs by Eran Riklis – Israel

Aug. 8 Love Island by Jasmila Žbanić –Croatia/Germany/Switzerland/Bosnia-Herzegovina and A Hitman's Solitude Before the Shot by Florian Mischa Böder – Germany

Aug. 9 Hin Und Weg by Christian Zübert – Germany and The Leopard (Il gatopardo)
 by Luchino Visconti – Italy/France

Aug. Marie Heurtin by Jean-Pierre Améris – France and Les Plages d'Agnès by Agnès Varda – France

Aug. 11 À la vie by Jean-Jacques Zilbermann – France

Aug. 12 The Hundred-Foot Journey by Lasse Hallström – United States

Aug 13 Schweizer Helden by Peter Luisi – Switzerland

Aug. 14 Pause by Mathieu Urfer – Switzerland plus a surprise film and guest to be announced later 

Aug. 15 Sils Maria by Olivier Assayas – France/Germany/Switzerland 
and Land Ho! by Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens – United States/Iceland

Aug 16 Geronimo by Tony Gatlif – France

Twitter: @EricJLyman

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