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Locarno 2014

Leaping for the gold

While there’ve been a few pre-festival screenings on the Piazza Grande, the 67th edition of the Festival del film Locarno officially opens tonight with Luc Besson’s Lucy. Crowd-pleasers are great and all, but we’re especially looking forward to early word on new work by Pedro Costa, Eugène Green, Jean-Marie Straub, Thom Andersen, Lav Diaz, Matías Piñeiro and many others. Full lineup’s here, and I’ll be indexing entries on individual films and links to further reportage and noteworthy criticism here.

This is Carlo Chatrian’s second year as artistic director and Giorgia Del Don‘s interviewed him for Cineuropa. Where the 67th edition differs from the 66th is its “focus on remembering modern cinema, cinema that from the 60s onwards changed the way stories were told, through [the] Nouvelle Vague. Then you’ve got the guests who form a direct link to this cinema experience but also younger directors, of films in competition, who look to that freedom of style and language which in the 60s was probably at its most expressive…. Locarno’s strength is undoubtedly its history, including its recent history, its ability of knowing how to identify (before others) filmmakers, directors and actors who later became really important. Ours is a festival of discovery; maybe also because it’s subject to less pressure, it’s free to go pick the artists that might in a few years time change our way of seeing, of narrating.”

Indiewire‘s Eric Kohn talks with Chatrian as well and, in the Hollywood Reporter, Ariston Anderson notes that there are five “stand-out events” this year. First, there’s the retrospective dedicated to Titanus, which “was Italy’s answer to MGM and 20th Century Fox, a monumental studio that has produced some of the country’s best films since the post-war era.” In the Notebook, you can read Chatrian‘s overview of this mammoth undertaking.

The other four highlights are a “more daring” (Chatrian) lineup than those of Cannes or Venice; a talk by Vision Award-winner Garrett Brown, inventor of the Steadicam; industry networking; and Roman Polanski’s masterclass.


Pedro Costa‘s Horse Money.

Lav Diaz‘s From What Is Before.

Eugène Green’s La Sapienza.

Park Jung-bum’s Alive.

Alex Ross Perry‘s Listen Up Philip.

Matías Piñeiro’s The Princess of France.


Patrick Brice’s Creep.

Jean-Luc Godard‘s Adieu au langage.


Olivier Assayas’s Clouds of Sils Maria.

Luc Besson’s Lucy.

Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens’s Land Ho!

Eran Riklis‘s Dancing Arabs.

Update, 8/7: “I don’t want this retrospective to become a necrospective,” Jean-Pierre Léaud tells the festival. “I’m deeply honored of this tribute and I’m aware of being an icon of the Nouvelle Vague, but I’m also looking ahead at movies and projects that are waiting for me.”

Updates, 8/9: “2014 is shaping up to be the Year of Agnès Varda,” writes Peter Debruge, introducing his interview for Variety. “This week, the free-spirited French director will receive the Pardo d’onore Swisscom at the Locarno Film Festival, which is just the latest in a series of honors, distinctions, appearances, exhibitions, restorations, retrospectives, seances, soirees and other all-around cool happenings that this 86-year-old filmmaker, photographer and artist has been involved in so far this year.”

Lukas Foerster is concentrating on the “already glorious Titanus retrospective” and has made “a beautiful discovery: Alberto Lattuada’s La spiaggia [1954], a film (maybe) about holiday culture and its discontent. Or, once again maybe: about both the inescapable necessity for and the impossibility of holiday.”

Update, 8/10: Beatrice Behn has been sending video reports to the Festivalists, and in the most recent one, she’s joined by the Berlinale Forum’s James Lattimer:

Update, 8/11: Lukas Foerster has more on Lattuada and Héctor Llanos Martínez interviews Agnès Varda for Cineuropa.

Updates, 8/13: Yesterday, Roman Polanski, who’d been scheduled to talk and receive an award, sent a message to the festival citing “tensions and controversies among those opposed to my visit” that compelled him to cancel. You can watch artistic director Carlo Chatrian’s response here.

Ives Rosenfeld’s Hopefuls (Aspirantes) has won this year’s Carte Blanche Prize, reports Variety‘s John Hopewell. “A pix-in-post showcase, the section focused this year on Brazil.”

And the “Open Doors co-production lab dedicated to works from Sub-Saharan Africa has picked its winners out of 12 selected projects.” Nick Vivarelli has notes on each, also in Variety.

Update, 8/16: And Lav Diaz’s From What Is Before has won the Golden Leopard. Pedro Costa’s won Best Director for Horse Money and Alex Ross Perry’s Listen Up Philip wins the Special Jury Award. The full list of award-winners—with clips from reviews—is here.

Update, 8/17: At the House Next Door, James Lattimer‘s posted another round of reviews: Pedro Costa’s Horse Money, Nicolás Pereda’s Los Ausentes, Park Jung-bum’s Alive and Ricardo Silva’s “salacious, unpleasant, yet utterly transfixing fiction-documentary hybrid,” Navajazo.

Update, 8/18: Celluloid Liberation Front reviews Joel Potrykus’s Buzzard for the Notebook.

Updates, 8/19: Adam Cook‘s posted a third round of impressions at the Notebook. In Sosialismi, “Peter von Bagh appropriates the footage to reconstruct a unified, idealist, and even dreamlike vision of socialist / left-wing ideas… or maybe not ideas so much as faith.” And: “Of the few short films I watched in Locarno, Single Stream was the most arresting… Co-directed by Ernst Karel (who you may recognize as the perennial sound designer for the Harvard Sensory Ethnography Lab), Toby Lee, Pawel Wojtasik, the film is shot in the Casella Materials Recovery Factory in Massachusetts, and uses abstraction to transform this mundane recycling plant into an alien space.” Plus a few notes on Peter Vecchiali’s Dostoevsky adaptation, Nuits blanches sur la jetée.

At the House Next Door, Michael Pattison writes about Andrew Cividino’s short film Sleeping Giant, headed to Toronto, Sjoerd Oostrik’s Kookaburra Love (thumbs down), Single Stream and J.P. Sniadecki’s The Iron Ministry (more on that one soon), and two more documentaries that “foreground place in different ways,” Veli Silver and Amos Angeles’s Style Wars 2 and Matthias von Gunten’s Thule Tuvalu.

Updates, 8/20: “Most films, it seems, fell between praise and a shrug,” writes Paul Dallas in a second and final dispatch to Filmmaker, but “it was Martín Rejtman’s [Two Shots Fired] that cast a spell over me.”

Posts from Locarno by Indiewire and the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Critics Academy can be found here.

Update, 8/31: Lukas Foerster‘s posted his Locarno 2014 rankings.

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