"The Rising" Takes the Raj at 58th Locarno Fest
by Brian Brooks
Locarno, Switzerland is the picturesque site for the first of the major August European festivals. The 58th Locarno International Film Festival will open with Indian director Ketan Mehta's story of India's first rebellion against foreign rule in the mid-19th century "The Rising - Ballad of Mangal Pandey," preceded by short film "Village Football by Sainath Coundhury" (India). "Rising" star Aamir Khan ("Lagaan") will attend the screening.
Eighteen films will take part in the festival's International Competition, including Canadian director Louise Archambault's story of family conflict, "Familia," and Belgian/French/Italian production "Vendredi ou un autre jour" by Yvan le Moine. Also in the line is British/American film "Mirrormask" by Dave McKean, a fantasy of two kingdoms in which a 15 year-old girl must find the Mirrormask in order to get home. The Quay Brothers' "The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes," meanwhile, is a fantasy about an evil doctor who kidnaps a beautiful opera singer in order to turn her into a mechanical nightingale. American director Rodrigo García's "Nine Lives" focuses on nine women who face the torments and challenges of life. The film stars Kathy Baker, Amy Brenneman, Elpidia Carillo, Glenn Close, Holly Hunter, Robin Wright Penn and Sissy Spacek.
Among the films screening in the festival's Piazza Grande program are Swiss documentary "Jo Siffert, Live Fast - Die Young" by Men Lareida, about Swiss Formula One star Jo Siffert, who died during a race at 35. The Piazza will also host an Orson Welles retrospective, entitled, "The Magnificent Welles," including a restored version of "Macbeth," on August 9, preceded by a tribute to cinematographer Vittorio Storaro ("Apocalypse Now"). Terry Gilliam will also be honored in the Piazza Grande, and will feature his 1982 feature "Time Bandits." Mary McGuckian's "Rag Tale," starring Jennifer Jason Leigh, Rupert Graves and Malcolm McDowell will screen in the Piazza on August 12. The film is described as a "no-holds-barred power struggle that grips the editorial offices of a U.K. evening newspaper." McGuckian, Leigh and Graves will attend the screening.
Others receiving Locarno accolades this year include Susan Sarandon, who will be the third recipient of the Locarno Excellence Award, while John Malkovich will receive the fest's second Excellence Award. Locarno will also pay tribute to documentarian Albert Maysles, featuring his take on the recent work by artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude, who will also attend the event. Locarno takes place in the lakeside town in Switzerland August 3-13.
[ For more information, and a full line up, please visit http://jahia.pardo.ch/index.jsp. ]