Locarno: International Lineup Features Films From Masters, Up-and-Coming Directors

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Locarno Piazza Grande

Ethan Hawke will travel to the Swiss festival to receive its Legend Award and present his latest film, 'Blaze.'

The upcoming edition of the Locarno Film Festival, artistic director Carlo Chatrian's last year before he takes over the Berlinale, will once again feature a wide variety of unexpected films from established masters and up-and-coming directors.

Director Jia Zhang-ke will serve as president of the jury to award the Golden Leopard this year. The international competition includes 15 features, 13 of them world premieres. 

Highlights include exiled filmmaker Ying Liang's semi-autobiographical film A Family Tour; the sinister Singapore-set thriller A Land Imagined from Yeo Siew Hua; and Kent Jones' baby-boomer drama Diane, which stars Mary Kay Place and had its world premiere this spring at the Tribeca Film Festival, where it won the top prize.

Chatrian, an early champion of Lav Diaz, may have beaten his previously held record of longest running time for a film chosen in the official selection with Argentine director Mariano Llinas' La Flor clocking in at 815 minutes. The 14-hour pic, the longest Argentine movie in history, includes six stories with the same four female protagonists throughout. 

And Ray & Liz is artist Richard Billingham's first feature film, based on his youth, raised in a life of poverty and addiction in a tower block council flat during Thatcher-era Britain. 

As usual, the Piazza Grande outdoor cinema will be the heart of the festival, with 17 feature films, including nine world premieres, where audiences of up to 8,000 people gather each evening.

Among the public screenings scheduled are Spike Lee's BlacKkKlansman and Antoine Fuqua's The Equalizer 2.

The Beautiful Spirits, an unlikely story of sports fraud from Vianney Lebasque, will open the fest, while Benoit Delephine and Gustave Kevern's I Feel Good, which focuses on a man who provides low-cost plastic surgery, will close out the event. 

As previously announced, Ethan Hawke, who is set to receive the festival's excellence award, will present the international premiere of his film Blaze at the Piazza Grande. The biopic is the untold story of Texas outlaw songwriting legend Blaze Foley. 

French director Bruno Dumont, who is set to receive Locarno's lifetime achievement award, will present the world premiere of the first four episodes of his new TV series CoinCoin et Les Z'Inhumains.  

The event will also pay tribute to the Taviani Brothers with a special screening of Good Morning, Babylon

The festival's retrospective on three-time Academy Award-winning writer, director and producer Leo McCarey will showcase an incredible 109 films, including An Affair to Remember.

The 71st Locarno Festival is set to run Aug. 1-11.