Robin Williams, Lauren Bacall Honored at Locarno Film Festival

Reto Albertalli/AFP/Getty Images
Locarno Film Festival's Piazza Grande

The Swiss festival pauses to remember the U.S. stars

The Locarno Film Festival continues its activities in Switzerland this week, but not without taking time to commemorate two of Hollywood's biggest losses. To remember Lauren Bacall, the program has added a screening of The Big Sleep on Friday. Her sultry portrayal of Vivian Sternwood alongside Humphrey Bogart's Philip Marlowe in the classic noir is one of her most celebrated roles.

The festival published a piece honoring Bacall as one of the true classics of the golden age of Hollywood who helped to define the film noir genre. They also recognized her last great appearances, thanks to Lars von Trier who wanted her at all costs for his films Dogville and Manderlay.

At the Open Doors Award Ceremony in Locarno Tuesday night, artistic director Carlo Chatrian took a moment to remember Robin Williams for being able to make people laugh and cry with his wide-ranging talent. "So before opening this night, I think it's our duty to remember Robin Williams," he told the 8,000-strong audience in the Piazza Grande to great applause. On Thursday, the the Piazza Grande screens One Hour Photo, which was presented at the festival in 2002. 

Locarno had previously published a statement paying tribute to Williams. The fest honored one role in particular, that of the mentally ill New York homeless man Parry on the search for the Holy Grail in Terry Gilliam's The Fisher King, referring to it as the high point of American cinema in the 1990s. The festival hopes that the tragic event will inspire cinema lovers to rediscover the hidden gems Williams left throughout his career.

Aug. 14, 2:30 a.m. Updated with additional screening information.

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