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Locarno Film Festival announces cosmopolitan competition slate

Locarno Film Festival announces cosmopolitan competition slate

PanARMENIAN.Net - The Locarno Film Festival on Wednesday, July 16 announced a cosmopolitan competition slate dominated by world premieres and featuring the latest from Portugal's Pedro Costa, U.S. indie darling Alex Ross Perry and veteran French filmmaker Paul Vecchiali, The Hollywood Reporter said.

The fest also said it would present career honors to acclaimed thespians Mia Farrow, Juliette Binoche, and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

The festival's famed Piazza Grande venue, which has Europe's largest silver screen, again features an eclectic mix of pop productions, cerebral fare and classics, including Luc Besson's thriller Lucy -- which stars Scarlett Johansson -- Lasse Hallström's comedy The Hundred Foot Journey, Agnès Varda's autobiographical The Beaches of Agnès (Les plages d'Agnès), and Luchino Visconti's iconic 1963 drama The Leopard (Il gattopardo), considered by many critics to be among the greatest films ever made. Varda will be honored by the festival in conjunction with the screening of her 2008 documentary.

The 67-year-old festival's lineup is lighter on U.S. productions than in past years, with Perry's Listen Up Philip and J.P. Sniadecki's The Iron Ministry — a U.S.-China co-production — the only American films in competition. The Hundred-Foot Journey, a comedy starring Oscar winner Helen Miren as the head of a posh French restaurant dealing with a down-market Indian eatery that opens across the street, and Land Ho!, a road trip comedy set in Iceland and directed by Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens, are the only two U.S. films screening in the picturesque Piazza Grande.

But that doesn't mean the event will lack for star power for the festival's film fans: In addition to Farrow, Binoche, and Mueller-Stahl, the guest list includes Italian horror master Dario Argento; acclaimed auteurs Víctor Erice of Spain, a career award honoree at the fest, and Russia's Aleksandr Sokurov; actresses Melanie Griffith and Julie Depardieu; and actors Jonathan Pryce and Jason Schwartzman, who stars in Listen Up Philip.

Other highlights from the competition lineup include the return to Locarno of Argentina's Martín Rejtman, who seems to attend the festival once a decade. After screening Rapado in competition in 1992 and Los guantes mágicos in 2003, he returns this year with Dos Disparos. Costa, a two-time jury prize winner in Locarno, returns this year with Horse Money (Cavalo Dinheiro). All told, 13 of 17 competition films are world premieres (the others are all international premieres).

The Piazza Grande slate will close with Geronimo, a immigration drama that premiered in Cannes from French filmmaker Tony Gatlif, Dancing Arabs from Israel's Eran Riklis, and a special surprise film and guest to be announced later, set to screen on the penultimate day of the Aug. 6-16 festival. The surprise film is the only remaining piece of the program to be announced.

In addition to the main competition and the Piazza Grande selections, Locarno will feature six separate sections, including the new Signs of Life section, which focuses on "cinema at the frontiers"; the discovery Concorso Cineasti del Presente section; the Pardi di Domani section, for shorts from emerging young filmmakers; the Histoire du Cinema section, which focuses on film history; and Open Doors, which this year focuses on English- and Portuguese-language productions from sub-Saharan Africa and a special retrospective on the famed Italian studio Titanus.

As previously announced, Venice Golden Lion winner Gianfranco Rosi will head the main jury, while Rutger Hauer and Ossama Mohammed will head the juries for the Pardi di Domani and Concorso Cineasti del Presente competitions, respectively.

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