'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood,' Joseph Gordon-Levitt Thriller '7500' to Screen in Locarno

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures
'Once Upon a Time in Hollywood'

New festival director Lili Hinstin promises “bigger risks” with a lineup that includes a tribute to black cinema as well as to “Pope of Trash” John Waters.

The Locarno International Film Festival on Wednesday unveiled its 2019 lineup, with highlights including screenings of Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood, Asif Kapadia's soccer documentary Diego Maradona and the world premiere of 7500, an action thriller starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt from German director Patrick Vollrath.

But Lili Hinstin, Locarno's new creative director, said she hoped her inaugural festival would be one that “shakes things up, brings surprises, ruffles feathers [and] asks questions.” Taking over from Carlo Chatrian, the new artistic director of the Berlin Film Festival, Hinstin reaffirmed Locarno's position on the calendar as the festival “whose risky selections are validated later by other festivals because artists regularly start international careers after they have been discovered and launched in Locarno.”

This year, that could include Vollrath, an Oscar nominee for his 2015 short Alles wird gut, who is making his feature debut with 7500. Gordon-Levitt plays a pilot who finds himself caught up in a hijacking drama after his aircraft has been taken over by terrorists. Amazon picked up the film out of the Cannes market this year.

Other first features celebrating their world premiere at Locarno 2019 include Days of the Bagnold Summer, a Brit comedy directed by Inbetweeners actor Simon Bird; Dutch psychological drama Instinct, from Halina Reijn, another actor-turned director; and The Nest, an Italian horror film from director Roberto De Feo.

Suburban soccer moms drama Greener Grass, from first-timers Jocelyn DeBoer and Dawn Luebbe, which premiered at Sundance, will have its international bow in Locarno. As will Joe Talbot's The Last Black Man in San Francisco, another Sundance debut.
Locarno's retrospective this year, titled Black Light, will be dedicated to black cinema, with a lineup ranging from Oscar Micheaux's 1920 classic Within our Gates to Melvin Van Peebles' 1971 thriller Sweet Sweetback's Baadasssss Song and '70s Blaxploitation features such as Super Fly (1972) and Coffy (1973) through to more recent features including Clement Virgo's Rude (1995) and Kasi Lemmon's 1997 drama Eve's Bayou. Locarno will also do a pre-festival, 30th anniversary screening of Spike Lee's Do The Right Thing at the Piazza Grande on Aug. 6.

Locarno's festival honorees this year include the “Pope of Trash” John Waters, German company Komplizen Film (Toni Erdmann, A Fantastic Woman) — which will receive the best independent producer honor, Raimondo Rezzonico Prize —and French-American editor Claire Atherton (No Home Movie, A Couch in New York), winner of this year's Vision Award Ticinomoda, which honors film artists working “out of the spotlight.”

The 72nd Locarno International Film Festival runs Aug.7-17.