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North and South American Pix Among Locarno Fest Mix

Lasse Hallstrom's 'The Hundred-Foot Journey' unspools on the 8,000-seat open-air Piazza Grande

ROME — The 67th Locarno Film Festival has unveiled a promising lineup, which sees particularly strong presences from both North and South America, more established auteurs competing alongside lots of newcomers, and a distinct diversity of genres and styles that is becoming the trademark of artistic director Carlo Chatrian, now at his second edition.

As previously announced, the Swiss fest dedicated to indie and innovative cinema in its different forms will open with Luc Besson’s Scarlett Johansson starrer “Lucy,” launching out-of-competition from Locarno’s 8,000-seat open-air Piazza Grande venue on Aug. 7, shortly after the English-language sci-fi thriller bows July 25 Stateside via Universal.

Other titles unspooling on the Piazza Grande include the fest bow of Lasse Hallstrom’s “The Hundred-Foot Journey,” produced by Steven Spielberg and Oprah Winfrey, which turns on a displaced family from India who open a restaurant in the South of France. This DreamWorks/Participant Media crowdpleaser starring Helen Mirren and Manish Dayal will be released on Aug. 8 in the U.S. via Touchstone.

U.S.-Icelandic road comedy “Land Ho!,” by Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens, which Sony Pictures Classics picked up at Sundance, will also be launching from the Piazza Grande, among other entries. Katz was at Locarno in 2010 with “Cold Weather.”

Piazza Grande titles will compete for the Prix du Public audience award, and also for the Variety Piazza Grande Award given by Variety critics to the best fest title launching from Europe’s largest open-air venue, and combining artistic excellence and commercial potential.

Special guests being feted this year with nods and retros include Mia Farrow, Juliette Binoche, Agnes Varda, Dario Argento and Armin Mueller-Stahl.

The main competish sees U.S. helmer Alex Perry’s Schwartzman starrer “Listen Up Philip,” with Perry, Schwartzman and co-star Jonathan Pryce in tow, bowing internationally after its Sundance preem, and also includes the latest from American documaker J.P. Sniadecki, a Locarno regular, who is coming with his China-set “The Iron Ministry” about people who basically live on trains in China.

U.S. indie darling Joel Potrykus is instead competing in Locarno’s Filmmakers of the Present section with his “Buzzard,” starring Joshua Burge as a disaffected temp, unspooling in the competitive section alongside Kickstarter-funded “Christmas, Again,” by Charles Poekel, about a Christmas tree vendor in New York, and also vying with “Songs From the North” by U.S.-based South Korean director Soon-mi Yoo, whose pic provides a view of largely unexplored North Korea.

The copious South American contingent includes “Two Gun Shots,” the first feature in a decade from Martin Rejtman, who is among founders of the so-called New Argentine Cinema; fellow Argentine Matias Pineiro’s “The Princess of France”; “Ventos De Agosto” from Brazilian helmer Gabriel Mascaro (“High-Rise”), all in the main competish; and also the apocalyptic “Navajazo,” by Mexican first-timer Ricardo Silva, screening in Filmmakers of the Present.

Well-known auteurs returning to Locarno include Portugal’s Pedro Costa, coming with “Cavalo Dinheiro”; Filipino auteur Lav Diaz, with “From What Is Before” (“Mula sa kung ano ang noon”); Gaul’s prolific Paul Vecchiali, with “Nuits blanches sur la jetee”; and Paris-based but U.S.-bred Eugene Green who is bringing his Italy-shot “La Sapienza,” inspired by the life and work of daring 17th-century architect Francesco Borromini. These are all in competition. The large majority of titles competing are world preems.

Heading the main competition jury is Italian helmer Gianfranco Rosi whose docu “Sacro GRA,” won the 2013 Venice Golden Lion.

Additional guests include Melanie Griffith, Olivier Assayas, Luc Besson, Garrett Brown, Suzanne Clement, Pedro Costa, Julie Depardieu, Lav Diaz, Victor Erice, Florian David Fitz, Hippolyte Girardot, Fernand Melgar, Rita Pavone, Matias Pineiro, Martin Rejtman, Eran Riklis, Nansun Shi, Aleksandr Sokurov, Andrea Staka, Agnes Varda and Paul Vecchiali.

2014 LOCARNO LINEUP
PIAZZA GRANDE
“A Hitman’s Solitude Before the Shot,” Florian Mischa Boder, Germany
“A La Vie,” Jean-Jacques Zilbermann, France
“Dancing Arabs,” Eran Riklis, Israel
“Geronimo,” Tony Gatlif, France
“Hin und weg,” Christian Zubert, Germany
“Land Ho!,” Aaron Katz and Martha Stephens, U.S.
“The Leopard,” Luchino Visconti, Italy
“Les Plages D’Agnes,” Agnes Varda, France
“Love Island,” Jasmila Zbanic, Croatia, Germany, France Switzerland, Bosnia-Herzegovina
“Lucy,” Luc Besson, France
“Marie Heurtin,” Jean-Pierre Ameris, France
“Pause,” Mathieu Orfer, Switzerland
“Schweizer Helden,” Peter Luisi, Switzerland
“Sils Maria,” Olivier Assayas, France, Germany, Switzerland
“The Hundred-Foot Journey,” Lasse Hallstrom, U.S.

INTERNATIONAL COMPETITION
“A Blast,” Syllas Tzoumerkas, Greece
“Alive,” Park Jung-bum, South Korea
“L’Abri,” Fernand Melgar, Switzerland
“Cavalo Dinheiro,” Pedro Costa, Portugal
“Cure. The Life of Another,” Andrea Staka, Switzerland
“Dos disparos,” Martin Rejtman, Argentina
“Durak,” Yury Bykov, Russia
“Fidelio, l’odyssee d’Alice” Lucie Borleteau, France
“From What Is Before,” Lav Diaz, Philippines
“Gyeongju,” Zhang Lu, South Korea
“The Iron Ministry,” J.P. Sniadecki, U.S.
“Listen Up Philip,” Alex Ross Perry, U.S.
“Nuits nlanches sur la jetee,” Paul Vecchiali, France
“Perfidia,” Bonifacio Angius, Italy
“La Princesa de Francia,” Matias Pineiro, Argentina
“La Sapienza,” Eugene Green, France, Italy
“August Winds,” Gabriel Mascaro, Brazil

For the complete lineup click here.

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