indieWIRE was on the scene at the Locarno Film Festival in Switzerland last week, covering a number of world and international premieres throughout the 68th edition as well as interviewing some of the bigger names in attendance. The following are links to all of our coverage. The list of award winners can be found here.
Last year, Paris-based festival programmer Olivier Pére made the dramatic transition from head of Directors’ Fortnight at Cannes to Artistic Director of the Locarno Film Festival. Now he looks a little more comfortable in his role, wearing the same blindingly white suit (he owns several versions, he claims) each night when he introduces outdoor films on the festival’s Piazza Grande in front of 8,500 people. Read more.
Abel Ferrara was in typical form this weekend at the Locarno Film Festival. Those familiar with the director and his distinctive persona know what that means: Ferrara’s appeal is defined by wisecracks, self-deprecation and an unmistakable blend of sleaziness and charm – just like his best movies. Full interview here.
Hitoshi Matsumoto’s name may not mean much in American households, but in Japan he’s a television superstar. Mainly known as one half of the comic duo Downtown, Matsumoto took his career in a new direction a few years ago when he started directing movies. Read more.
Joe Cornish has been busy lately. In March, the British comedian-turned-filmmaker premiered his directorial debut, “Attack the Block,” at the South by Southwest Film Festival. Sony Screen Gems released it last weekend in North America, but Cornish’s work continues. This weekend, he journeyed to Locarno, Switzerland, where the film played on Friday night to a massive crowd in the Piazza Grande as an official selection of the Locarno Film Festival. Check out the full interview.
Says Eric Kohn: “Everyone seems lost in Nadav Lapid ‘Policeman’ (‘Ha-shoter’), an unsettling story of brawny Israeli anti-terrorist officers and the equally clueless activists they’re eventually tasked with hunting down. While blatantly topical, this is not a political film of the moment, but rather a calculated meditation on purpose.” Read the full review.
“Hansen-Love’s third feature, ‘Goodbye First Love,’ folds in on itself: The story of a teen romance that won’t die, it holds so tightly to feelings of lovesickness that it eventually inhabits them.” Check out Eric Kohn’s full opinionhere.
Kohn wrote, “The heroes of great crime stories generally come equipped with extreme inferiority complexes. If there’s a list ranking those wily characters, then Roger Brown, the daring art thief anti-hero of Morten Tyldum’s widely enjoyable Norwegian action-comedy ‘Headhunters,’ belongs somewhere in the pantheon.” Read more.
“‘Monsieur Lazhar,’ the fourth feature from Quebec-based filmmaker Phillippe Falardeau, fulfills the classroom drama clichés, while at the same time transcending them. It has neither the gritty edge of “Half Nelson” nor the screwball energy of “Hamlet 2” but a combination of realism and wit that relates it to both of them. Full review.
If Robert Bresson directed an episode of “The Wire,” it might look something like sad world of drug-fueled anger and broken dreams that dominate first-time director Ruslan Pak’s “Hanaan.” Read morehere.
“A speedy depiction of university politics and the spirited radicalism associated with them, ‘The Student’ (‘El estudiante’) announces 31-year-old Argentinean filmmaker Santiago Mitre as a South American Aaron Sorkin. A screenwriter whose credits include Pablo Trapero’s “Carancho” and “Leonera,” Mitre uses his directorial debut to craft a fascinatingly heady universe filled with moody young intellectuals and back-stabbing schemes.” Read Kohn’s full review.
Kohn wrote, “The destructive earthquake that rocked Chile in 2010 provides the starting point for Sebastián Lelio’s ‘The Year of the Tiger’ (“El año del tigre”) but as a meditation on insurmountable catastrophe its intentions are highly abstract.” Read more.
Kohn described the film as “A welcome contrast to the Western media’s bird’s eye view of the seismic January revolution in Cairo’s Tahrir Square, the energetic verité documentary ‘Tahrir: Liberation Square’ dives right into the action.” Full review.
Julia Loktev’s long-awaited follow-up to “Day Night Day Night,” “‘The Loneliest Planet,’ deals with noticeably broader terrain and even includes a mid-size star (Gael Garcia Bernal). Both of those factors yield something closer to a conventional viewing experience than the intentionally prosaic momentum of her previous outing. It’s a smart, mesmerizing and provocative expansion of her talents,” said Eric Kohn. Read more.
In “Best Intentions,” a real-time family drama in which a young man continually worries about his mother’s health, the tension fluctuates but never sits still. Following up his 2008 directorial debut “Hooked,” Romanian filmmaker Adrian Sitaru constructs a temporally complex psychological thriller, mixing contemporary Romanian realist traditions with a thoughtful subjective technique. Check out the rest of the review.
Kohn wrote, “The role of Chinese filmmaking giant Jia Zhang-ke as producer of first-time writer-director Han Jie’s ‘Hello! Shu Xian Sheng’ (‘Mr. Tree’) doesn’t properly convey its offbeat vibe. While loaded with considerably interesting ideas, it lacks the requisite energy to link them together. Read more.