Locarno Film Festival Unveils Lineup

Piazza Grande
Reto Albertalli/AFP/Getty Images

Locarno's vast open-space screening area the Piazza Grande will welcome several current Hollywood films including J.J. Abrams' "Super 8,"  Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis comedy "Friends With Benefits" and "Cowboys & Aliens."

The 65-year-old Swiss festival will once again offer an eclectic mix of titles from veterans and newcomers.

ISCHIA, Italy – The Locarno Film Festival on Wednesday announced its full program, including a slate of 19 in-competition films made up entirely of world and international premieres and a lineup for the festival’s famous Piazza Grande, highlighted in part by the world premiere of Nick Love’s crime drama The Sweeney on opening night.

The Piazza Grande program also includes Ruby Sparks, a fantasy/romance from Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris.

The in-competition lineup showed Locarno’s taste for the cosmopolitan, with 19 features at least co-produced in 21 different countries, including six produced or co-produced in the U.S. Among them: Starlet, a drama from Sean Baker starring Ernest Hemingway’s great granddaughter Dree Hamingway as a girl who strikes up a friendship with an elderly woman after buying an item at a yard sale that turns out to be filled with cash, and Craig Zobel’s thriller Compliance about an anonymous caller who convinces a fast-food restaurant manager to interrogate an innocent employee. Both films are international premieres.

Other in-competition highlights include the world premiere of Playback, the first feature from Japanese director Sho Miyake; Wo Hai You Hua Yao Shuo (When Night Falls), a drama from South Korean actor-turned-director Ying Liang; the world premiere of Padroni di Casa (The Landlords) from Italy’s Edoardo Gabbriellini; and Bob Byington’s quirky comedy Somebody Up There Likes Me.

Among the selections for Locarno’s 8,800-seat outdoor Piazza Grande -- Europe’s largest film venue -- The Sweeney is based on a popular 1970s U.K. television series, while Ruby Sparks tells the story of a struggling novelist’s creation of a fictional female character he tries to will into existence.

Other Piazza Grande highlights include the European premiere of crime drama Che Sau (Motorway) from Soi Cheang, produced by Johnnie To and screened as part of the homage to To that is part of his Golden Leopard honor for lifetime achievement; Wrong, the latest comedy from France’s Quentin Dupieux, a Locarno regular; Steven Soderbergh’s male stripper comedy Magic Mike; 54-year-old classic Bonjour Tristesse, part of the festival’s retrospective of Otto Preminger films; and Swiss production More than Honey from Markus Imhoof, the festival’s closing film.  

The festival this year will prove “it is the festival of film, all kinds of film and nothing but film, of the highlights of its history, its stars and artists to its most exciting future prospects with a constellation of new auteurs discovered every year in the various sections of the festival,” artistic director Olivier Pere said of the full lineup.

The festival, held now for 65 years in the picturesque lakeside Swiss city of Locarno, will take place Aug. 1-11. It is among the world's oldest film festivals.

In addition to the Piazza Grande screenings and those from the main-competition, the festival includes a special sidebar “Cineasti del Presente” (Cinema of the Present) competition made up of 15 first or second film from around the world, the “Pardi di Domani” (Leopards of Tomorrow) section for short films from up-and-coming filmmakers, and a new section called “Histoires du Cinema” (Cinema Stories), featuring documentaries about film.

As previously announced, the festival will present its Pardo d’Onore (Leopard of Honor) prize to iconoclastic French director Leos Carax, including a complete retrospective of his work and the Excellence Award will go to British actress Charlotte Rampling. To, the Hong Kong producer and director, will be honored with the festival’s lifetime achievement honor, while the iconic Preminger will be the focus of the festival’s main retrospective. Arnon Milchan will be honored with the festival's honor for film producers.

Director Apichatpong Weerasethakul of Thailand will head the main competition jury, made up of U.S. producer and director Roger Avary, South Korean director Sang-soo Im, actress, director, and screenwriter Noemie Lvovsky of France, and Swiss writer Hans Ulrich Obrist.

The complete lineup follows.

Main competition selections:

A ÚLTIMA VEZ QUE VI MACAU by João Pedro Rodrigues and João Rui Guerra da Mata


COMPLIANCE by Craig Zobel

DER GLANZ DES TAGES by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel

IMAGE PROBLEM by Simon Baumann and Andreas Pfiffner

JACK AND DIANE by Bradley Rust Gray

LA FILLE DE NULLE PART by Jean-Claude Brisseau

LEVIATHAN by Lucien Castaing-Taylor and Verena Paravel

LOS MEJORES TEMAS by Nicolás Pereda

MOBILE HOME by François Pirot


PADRONI DI CASA by Edoardo Gabbriellini

PLAYBACK by Sho Miyake

POLVO by Julio Hernández Cordón


STARLET by Sean Baker

THE END OF TIME by Peter Mettler




Piazza Grande selections (including the date of the screenings):

August 1: THE SWEENEY by Nick Love

August 2: LORE by Cate Shortland

August 3: RUBY SPARKS by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris

August 3: MAGIC MIKE by Steven Soderbergh

August 4: NACHTLÄRM by Christoph Schaub

August 4: WRONG by Quentin Dupieux

August 5: QUELQUES HEURES DE PRINTEMPS by Stéphane Brizé

August 6: SIGHTSEERS by Ben Wheatley

August 6: BACHELORETTE by Leslye Headland

August 7: CAMILLE REDOUBLE by Noémie Lvovsky

August 8: NO by Pablo Larraín

August 9: THE BLACK BALLOON by Josh and Benny Safdie (a short film)

August 9: WHILE WE WERE HERE by Kat Coiro

August 9: MOTORWAY by Soi Cheang

August 10: DAS MISSEN MASSAKER by Michael Steiner

August 10: BONJOUR TRISTESSE by Otto Preminger

August 11: MORE THAN HONEY by Markus Imhoof