Locarno Film Festival Unveils Competition Lineup

Mikkel Nørgaard's "The Keeper of Lost Causes"

The 20-film competition lineup features 18 world premieres and represents 16 countries, while the Piazza Grande selections run from blockbusters to art house films.

LACCA AMENO, Ischia – The Locarno Film Festival, in its first edition under artistic director Carlo Chatrian, on Wednesday revealed an eclectic and international lineup, including a 20-film competition program made up almost exclusively of world premieres and a Piazza Grande slate that runs the gambit from blockbusters to cinema d’auteur to ageless classics.

The 66-year-old festival also revealed the makeup of its main juries, with Filipino director Lav Diaz slated to head the five-person international jury that will award the event's main prizes.

The 8,000-seat Piazza Grande, the largest silver screen in Europe and Locarno’s signature venue, this year illustrates the variety of genres Locarno is known for, with a compelling lineup that includes Quentin Dupieux’s crime comedy Wrong Cops, with a cast that includes Goth icon Marilyn Manson; Mr. Morgan’s Last Love, a drama from Sandra Nettelbeck that stars Michael Cain as a retired professor who finds a connection with a young Parisian woman; and Rawson Marshall Thurber's comedy We’re the Millers, which boasts a cast that includes Jennifer Aniston and Ed Helms.

Also scheduled to screen in the picturesque Piazza Grande: 1981 classic Rich and Famous, part of the festival’s retrospective dedicated to director George Cukor (the film's star, Jacqueline Bisset, will be in Locarno to introduce the film) and Werner Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo, the director’s 1982 biopic about Brian Sweeney Fitzgerald that will screen as part of the festival’s homage to the 70-year-old director, who will be honored with a lifetime achievement prize. The Piazza Grande will also feature an Italian film -- La Variabile Umana (The Human Factor), the feature film debut from acclaimed documentary maker Bruno Oliviero -- for the first time in six years.

The festival previously announced that much-heralded blockbuster 2 Guns, from Baltasar Kormákur -- which stars Denzel Washington and Mark Wahlberg -- would open the festival August 7.

“I want the Piazza Grande selection to feature a sampling of what the festival has to offer in its various sections and tributes, and I think we made a big step in this direction,” said Chatrian, a veteran festival programmer and author who took over direction of the lakeside festival after the unexpected departure of Olivier Pere last year.

The competition lineup, which includes 18 world premieres and two international premieres, is nearly as varied as the selection showing in the Piazza Grande. Among the highlights: E Agora? Lembra-me (What Now? Remind Me) from Portugal’s Joaquim Pinto, the director’s touching and vibrant telling of his battle with HIV; Albert Serra's Historia de la Meva Mort (Story of My Death), which had been tabbed by the European press as a likely Cannes selection; Real, the first film from Japan’s Kiyoshi Kurosawa in five years; U Ri Sunhi (Our Sunhi) by South Korea's acclaimed Sangsoo Hong; and Sangue (Blood) from Italy’s Pippo Delbono, which explores Italy’s Red Brigade insurgency. Short Term 12, a remake of a 2008 short (both directed by Destin Cretton), is the only U.S. film screening in competition.

“There’s an intriguing mix of young director and first time works with more experienced talent in the competition lineup,” Chatrian said. “I’m eager to see how the public will react to these films we’ve chosen.”

The festival will also screen recent films from the members of its various juries, including Norte, Hangganan Kasaysayan (Norte, the End of History) from jury president Diaz. Sebastián Lelio’s Gloria, which will screen in the Piazza Grande, was produced by jury member Juan de Dios Larraín; while Que d’Amour, directed by and starring France’s Valérie Donzelli (she also appears in Lionel Baier's Les Grandes Ondes (Longwave), scheduled to screen in the Piazza Grande) and Alpis, directed and produced by Greece’s Yorgos Lanthimos, will show the talents of two other members of the main jury (the fifth jury member is Swiss cinema expert Matthias Brunner). Nine other films directed or produced by members of sidebar juries will also screen at the August 7-17 event.

Piazza Grande selections:

2 Guns by Baltasar Kormákur (United States)

Vijay and I by Sam Garbarski (Belgium/Luxembourg/Germany)

La Variabile Umana (The Human Factor) by Bruno Oliviero (Italy)

Wrong Cops by Quentin Dupieux (United States)

We’re the Millers by Rawson Marshall Thurber (United States)

The Keeper of Lost Causes by Mikkel Nørgaard (Denmark/Germany/Sweden)

Les Grandes Ondes (Longwave) by Lionel Baier (Switzerland/France/Portugal)

Rich and Famous by George Cukor (United States)

Gabrielle by Louise Archambault (Canada)

L’Experience Blocher by Jean-Stéphane Bron (Switzerland/France)

Gloria by Sebastián Lelio (Chile)

Mr. Morgan’s Last Love by Sandra Nettelbeck (Germany/Belgium)

Blue Ruin by Jeremy Saulnier (United States)

About Time by Richard Curtis (United Kingdom)

Fitzcarraldo by Werner Herzog (Germany/Peru)

Sur le Chemin de l’École by Pascal Plisson (France)

International competition lineup:

Când se lasă seara peste Bucureşti sau metabolism (When Evening Falls on Bucharest or Metabolism) by Corneliu Porumboiu (Romania)

E Agora? Lembra-me (What Now? Remind Me) by Joaquim Pinto (Portugal)

Educacão Sentimental (Sentimental Education) by Júlio Bressane (Brazil)

El Mudo by Daniel and Diego Vega (Peru/France/Mexico)

Exhibition by Joanna Hogg (United Kingdom)

Feuchtgebiete by David Wnendt (Germany)

Gare du Nord by Claire Simon (France/Canada)

Historia de la Meva Mort (Story of My Death) by Albert Serra (Spain/France)

L’Étrange Couleur des Larmes de Ton Corps (The Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears) by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani (Belgium/France/Luxembourg)

Mary, Queen of Scots by Thomas Imbach (Switzerland/France)

Pays Barbare by Yervant Gianikian and Angela Ricci Lucchi (France)

Real by Kiyoshi Kurosawa (Japan)

Sangue (Blood) by Pippo Delbono (Italy/Switzerland)

Short Term 12 by Destin Cretton (United States)

Shu Jia Zuo (A Time in Quchi) by Tso chi Chang (Taiwan)

Tableau Noir (Black Board) by Yves Yersin (Switzerland)

Tomogui (Backwater) by Shinji Aoyama (Japan)

Tonnerre by Guillaume Brac (France)

U Ri Sunhi (Our Sunhi) by Sangsoo Hong (South Korea)

Une Autre Vie by Emmanuel Mouret (France)

Twitter: @EricJLyman