Locarno fest locks preem

'Earnest' opens, 'Possession' closes

See LineupLONDON — Twenty-one world preems, including Neil LaBute’s “Possession” with Gwyneth Paltrow, Samantha Lang’s “The Idol” with Leelee Sobieski and Alex Cox’s “Revengers Tragedy” with Christopher Eccleston and Derek Jacobi, are set for the main sections of this year’s Locarno Intl. Film Festival, which announced its lineup in Bern Wednesday.

The 55th edition of the Swiss-Italian lakeside event, which unspools Aug. 1-11, opens with the international premiere of Oliver Parker’s “The Importance of Being Earnest,” starring Colin Firth and Rupert Everett, and closes with LaBute’s romantic drama, based on A.S. Byatt’s novel.

“Earnest” and “Possession” will unspool in the town’s Piazza Grande outdoor theater, which seats some 7,000 people. Unusually, this year’s opener won’t start until midnight, as Aug. 1 is Swiss National Day and there will be a traditional fireworks display by the lake from 10:30-11:30 p.m.

‘Bourne,’ ‘Signs’ on sked

Among other pics making a splash on the Piazza Grande’s huge screen will be “The Bourne Identity”; M. Night Shyamalan’s “Signs”; “Insomnia”; British psycho-horror movie “My Little Eye”; U.S.-set fakumentary “Birdseye”; Takashi Miike’s latest gunfest, “Dead or Alive Final”; and Pavel Lounguine’s black comedy-cum-gangster movie “A New Russia.”

Over in the Competition, fest director Irene Bignardi, now in the second year of her three-year contract, announced a slightly larger program than usual, at 22 titles.

“My apologies to the jury, but we had a couple of late arrivals that we just couldn’t turn down,” she told Daily Variety.

Adding accessibility

In line with last year, she’s aimed to make the Competition less arcane and more accessible. “However,” she added, “there are fewer examples of so-called classical moviemaking, like last year’s ‘How I Killed My Father.’ And there are some harder, bleaker films, like the Hungarian ‘Pleasant Days’ and the two German entries, ‘Sophiiiie!’ and ‘The Longing.’ ”

The four U.S. entries in Competition — “Gerry,” “One Hour Photo,” “Secretary” and “Personal Velocity” — are all receiving their international preems after Sundance. Bignardi admits it’s still difficult to get world premieres of U.S. indie fare but points out that Sundance’s sensibilities are very similar to Locarno’s.

“We’re both inspired by the same spirit in what we look for in a film,” said Bignardi, a veteran critic for Italian daily La Repubblica.

Asia thinly repped

With just one movie from China — experimental theater director Meng Jinghui’s “Chicken Poets” — East Asia is thinly repped in Locarno’s main sections this year, though in general the fest has spread its net wide, especially across the Third World.

Aside from a 33-title retro on Indian production of the past quarter century, “Indian Summer,” Bignardi is devoting the fest’s final day to rediscovered treasures from the Afghan Film Archive, which was all but destroyed by the Taliban.

This year’s Honorary Leopard will go to producer-director Sydney Pollack, whose Depression-era drama “They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” (1969) will screen in the Piazza Grande on Aug. 3. In addition, Portuguese producer Paulo Branco will receive a new annual award, in memory of the fest’s longtime former prexy Raimundo Rezzonico.

This year’s seven-member Competition jury, headed by Serbian producer Cedomir Kolar, includes helmers Bela Tarr and Jafar Panahi and actors Bruno Ganz and Aamir Khan.

Complete listing of the Locarno lineup.


“Love Your Father” Jacob Berger (Switz.-France-Canada-U.K.)*
“At the First Breath of Wind” Franco Piavoli (Italy)*
“Blue Moon” Andrea Maria Duesl (Austria)*
“The Cage” Alain Raoust (France)*
“Hard Goodbye: My Father” Penny Panayotopoulou (Freece-Germany)*
“Gerry” Gus Van Sant (U.S.)
“I’m Taraneh, 15” Rasul Sard-Ameli (Iran)
“My Real Life in Rouen” Olivier Ducastel & Jacques Martineau (France)*
“Girl” Dorothee van den Berghe (Belgium-Netherlands-France)*
“Mr. and Mrs. Iyer” Aparna Sen (India)*
“Okay” Jesper W. Nielsen (Denmark)
“Beyond Limits” Rolando Colla (Switz.-Italy)*
“One Hour Photo” Mark Romanek (U.S.)
“Personal Velocity: Three Portraits” Rebecca Miller (U.S.)
“Rene” Alain Cavalier (France)*
“Revengers Tragedy” Alex Cox (U.K.)*
“Secretary” Steven Shainberg (U.S.)
“Sophiiiie!” Michael Hoffmann (Germany)*
“Pleasant Days” Kornel Mundruczo (Hungary)
“Tan de repente” Diego Lerman (Argentina)
“The Longing” Iain Dilthey (Germany)*
“Chicken Poets” Meng Jinghui (China)*

* world preem


“Ali G Indahouse” Mark Mylod (U.K.)
“For Love and Gold” Mario Monicelli (Italy-France, 1966)
“Bend It Like Beckham” Gurinder Chadha (U.S.-U.K.-Germany)
“Birdseye” Stephan Beckner & Mike Huber (Switz.-U.S.)*
“The Bourne Identity” Doug Liman (U.S.)
“Corto Maltese: La cour secrete des arcanes” Pascal Morelli (France)*
“Dead or Alive Final” Takashi Miike (Japan)
“The Idol” Samantha Lang (France-Australia)*
“The Importance of Being Earnest” Oliver Parker (U.K.-France-U.S.) (opener)
“Insomnia” Christopher Nolan (U.S.)
“My Little Eye” Marc Evans (U.K.)*
“A New Russia” Pavel Lounguine (France-Russia-Germany)*
“Novo” Jean-Pierre Limosin (France-Switz.-Spain)*
“Possession” Neil LaBute (U.S.)* (closer)
“They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?” Sydney Pollack (U.S., 1969)
“Signs” M. Night Shyamalan (U.S.)

* world preem


“After the Hole” Antonio Llorens Sanchis (Spain-France)
“Berlin: Symphony of a City” Thomas Schadt (Germany)
“The Noise, the Scent and Some Stars” Eric Pittard (France)
“Neapolitan Heart” Paolo Santoni (Italy)
“Derrida” Amy Ziering Kofman & Kirby Dick (U.S.)
“Eat, Drink, No Women” Heiner Stadler (Germany)
“The Warriors of Beauty” Pierre Coulibeuf (France)
“Hoover Street Revival” Sophie Fiennes (U.K.-France)
“Impatience” Antoine Fumat (France)
“Market Day” Jacqueline Veuve (Switzerland)
“Days I Don’t Exist” Jean-Charles Fitoussi (France)
“Pickpocket” Linton Semage (Sri Lanka)
“Ricco” Mike Wildbold (Switzerland)
“Portraits: Luigi Meneghello” Carlo Mazzacurati & Marco Paolini
“Royal Bonbon” Charles Najman (France)
“Our Times” Rakhshan Bani-Etemad (Iran)
“Blind Spot” Hanna A.W. Slak (Slovenia)
“Todo juntos” Federico Leon (Argentina)
“Wanted” Kim Hopkins (U.K.)
“Desire” Kim Eung-su (South Korea)
“Yonden” Marie Jaoul de Poncheville (France-Mongolia)
“State of the Nation” Barbara Albert, Michael Glawogger, Ulrich Seidl & Michael Sturminger (Austria)


“33” Kiko Goifman (Brazil)
“9” Umit Unal (Turkey)
“Biggie and Tupac” Nick Broomfield (U.K.)
“Cabeza de palo” Ernesto Baca (Argentina)
“Crossing Kalandia” Subhi al-Zobaidi (Palestine)
“Dracula, Pages from a Virgin’s Diary” Guy Maddin (Canada)
“On the Frontiers” Danielle Arbid (Lebanon-France)
“HFF Goes Holywood” Rosa von Praunheim (Germany)
“I Am from Nowhere” Georg Misch (Austria)
“After the War” Nobuhiro Suwa, Moon Seung-wook & Wang Xiaoshuai (Japan-South Korea-China)
“Kafka Goes to the Movies” Hanns Zischler (Germany-France)
“Let’s Talk” Ram Madhavani (India)
“Love and Diane” Jennifer Dworkin (U.S.-France)
“Ohomemteatro” Edgar Pera (Portugal)
“On dirait le sud” Vincent Pluss (Switzerland)
“Oui non” Jon Jost (U.S.)
“Paris Taxi” Robert Bozzi (France)
“You’ll See in an Hour” Alina Marazzi (Italy)
“Yves Saint Laurent, 5, Avenue Marceau” David Teboul (France)


“Sholay” Ramesh Sippy (1975)
“The Chess Players” Satyajit Ray (1977)
“Donkey in a Brahmin’s Village” John Abraham (1977)
“Possessed” Shyam Benegal (1978)
“Once Upon a Time” Girish Karnad (1978)
“In Search of Famine” Mrinal Sen (1980)
“Rat Trap” Adoor Gopalakrishnan (1981)
ter, Water” K. Balachander (1981)
“Umrao Jaan” Muzzafer Ali (1981)
“Half Truth” Govind Nihalani (1983)
“The Mirage” Nirad Mahapatra (1983)
“Spices” Ketan Mehta (1986)
“Mr. India” Shekhar Kapur (1987)
“The House” Balu Mahendra (1987)
“The Voyage Beyond” Goutam Ghose (1987)
“The Catastrophe” Jahnu Barua (1987)
“Tabara’s Tale” Girish Kasaravalli (1987)
“Bonded Woman” Narsing Rao (1988)
“The Birth” Shaji Karun (1988)
“Masquerade” Aravindan (1988)
“Siddheshwari” Mani Kaul (1989)
“The Tiger Man” Buddhadeb Dasgupta (1989)
“In Which Annie Gives It Those Ones” Pradip Krishen (1989)
“In Custody” Ismail Merchant (1993)
“Naseem” Saeed Mirza (1995)
“What the Sea Said” Aparna Sen (1995)
“The Duo” Mani Ratnam (1997)
“Satya” Ram Gopal Varma (1998)
“Play of God” Jayaraj (1998)
“The Terrorist” Santosh Sivan (1998)
“The Raw Mango” Amol Palekar (1999)
“Finding One’s Self” Rajiv Menon (2000)
“This, My Land” Mrinal Sen (2002)

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