French director Bruno Dumont, who over the past two decades has gone from making naturalistic dramas such as “La Vie de Jesus” and “L’Umanité” to directing slapstick comedy, a Joan of Arc-themed musical, and innovative TV series, will be honored by the Locarno Film Festival with its Pardo d’onore Manor lifetime achievement award.
The versatile auteur will also be world-premiering his new TV series, “Coincoin and the Extra Humans,” with a launch from the Swiss fest’s 8.000-seat outdoor Piazza Grande venue Aug. 4. The show, which is the second season of Dumont’s “Li’l Quinquin” series and sees its young protagonist become a French nationalist, is getting a theatrical release in Switzerland and will be playing in September on Franco-German channel Arte.
Born in Bailleul, northern France, in 1958, Dumont made his feature film debut in 1997 with “La vie de Jesus” shot in his hometown and followed up in 1999 with “L’Humanite,” also set in the French Flanders region. Both films won prizes in Cannes, including a Grand Prix award for “L’Humanite.”
In 2003, Dumont moved away from locations in northern France to make his third film, “Twentynine Palms,” set in California. He returned to his native region to make “Flandres” in 2006, which brought him his second Cannes Grand Prix.
Dumont has more recently tried his hand at other genres. “Camille Claudel 1915,” starring Juliette Binoche as the sculptor and lover of Auguste Rodin, went to Berlin in 2013. It was followed by slapstick period murder mystery “Slack Bay,” which went to Cannes in 2016, and the head-scratching musical “Jeanette, the Childhood of Joan of Arc,” which premiered at Cannes last year.
“Bruno Dumont is one of those directors who best typify 21st century cinema,” said Locarno artistic director Carlo Chatrian. “His films are deeply rooted in philosophical, literary and film tradition and yet are forward-looking at the same time; they are the best possible riposte to those who claim that the cinema has nothing left to discover.”
Previous recipients of Locarno’s Pardo d’onore include Jean-Luc Godard, Ken Loach, Sydney Pollack, William Friedkin, Jia Zhangke, Werner Herzog, Agnès Varda, and Todd Haynes.
The 71st Locarno Film Festival runs Aug. 1-11.