The lineup for the 68th edition of the Locarno Film Festival has been unveiled, and the program is sorely lacking in female-helmed features.
Only two of the 16 titles, or 13 percent, in the high-profile Piazza Grande section are directed by women: Catherine Corsini’s lesbian love story “La Belle Saison” and Elisabeth Scharang’s “Jack,” which focuses on a convicted murderer being released after 16 years in prison. These films will compete for the Pix du Public Audience Award, as well as the Variety Piazza Grande Award, which will be decided on by Variety critics on the basis of “artistic excellence and commercial appeal.” The featured titles will screen at the Piazza Grande, the biggest open-air venue in Europe.
The numbers in the International Competition category are similarly bleak: Only two of 18 films are directed solely by women, and another is co-directed. Let’s be generous, then, and say that three out of 18 films are female-helmed — that amounts to 17 percent. Athina Rachel Tsangari’s “Chevalier” portrays a group of men on a fishing trip who kill time by playing a game called, you guessed it, Chevalier. Chantal Akerman’s “No Home Movie” is a documentary about the filmmaker’s mother, who fled Poland for Belgium in 1938. “Heimatland,” co-directed by Lisa Blatter and Carmen Jaquier (and eight others), explores what would happen in the event of a disaster in Switzerland, and how the country would be dependent on other nations.
“We worked hard on offering diversity this year both in terms of selecting established directors alongside the discoveries Locarno is known for, and also mixing traditional narratives with more experimental titles,” said Carlo Chatrian, the artistic director of the festival. But the programming certainly doesn’t offer gender diversity. Variety reports that Edward Norton, Andy Garcia, Walter Murch and Marco Bellochhio are expected to attend the festival, as they are each being recognized with awards celebrating their career achievements. French actress Bulle Ogier will be paid tribute to with a career Golden Leopard. We can’t help but wish for more women honorees. It looks as though more men will be feted at the festival, which is already dominated by male directors.
The Locarno Film Festival will run from August 5 to 15 in Locarno, Switzerland.