Locarno Fest Unveils Lineup for New 'Images and Words' Spinoff Event

Alexander Sokurov - H 2012
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The inaugural edition will take place March 24 to 27, with Russian auteur Alexander Sokurov on hand as the main guest.

ROME – Russian auteur Alexander Sokurov will be the guest of honor at next month’s Imagine e Parole (Images and Words) event, a spinoff of Switzerland’s venerable lakeside Locarno Film Festival.

Imagine e Parole is part of a wider Primavera Locarnese (Locarno Spring) initiative that also includes a literary event co-directed by former Locarno Film Festival artistic director Irene Bignardi, Italian literary critic Paolo Mauri and German theater director and poet Joachim Sartorius, as well as a series of collateral events for the wider public.

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Festival president Marco Solari first announced the Imagine e Parole event last August, on the final day of the 2012 Locarno Film Festival. Soon after the festival, however, then-artistic director Olivier Pere announced he would leave the festival, temporarily casting in doubt the future of the spinoff event. But after the appointment of author, critic and veteran festival programmer Carlo Chatrian as Pere’s replacement, it was announced Imagine e Parole would take place as planned.

The event, running March 24 to 27, will include screenings of two of Sokurov’s films: the Swiss premiere of Faust, which won Venice’s Golden Lion in 2011, and Russkiy kovcheg (Russian Ark), his 2002 drama famous for having been shot in a single 99-minute take. The screening of Russkiy kovcheg will be followed by a registration-only workshop entitled “Cinema Without Editing."

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Sokurov will also participate in a roundtable discussion on “Contemporary Cinema and the European Cultural Heritage” along with Swiss Cinematheque director Frederic Maire, International Rome Film Festival artistic director Marco Mueller and museum director David Streiff. Maire (2006-2009), Mueller (1992-2000) and Streiff (1982-1991) are all former Locarno Film Festival artistic directors.

Imagine e Parole will open with the international premiere of the 1913 production The Student of Prague, a “lost” film recently restored by the Filmmuseum of Munich that screened at the just-completed Berlin International Film Festival.

The event will also have a special day dedicated to Italian film, including the Swiss premiere of International Rome Film Festival jury prize winner Ali ha gli occhi azzuri (Ali Blue Eyes), which will be presented by director Claudio Giovanesi, who will discuss the connections between his work and the poetry of iconic Italian film director Pier Paolo Pasolini.

Organizers say Imagine e Parole will become an annual event, more or less halfway between editions of the Locarno Film Festival, which will hold its 66th edition this year from Aug. 7 to 17.