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John Waters to Receive Locarno Film Festival’s Top Honor

John Waters is set to receive the Pardo d’onore Manor lifetime achievement award at this year’s Locarno Film Festival, the first under new artistic director Lili Hinstin. The cult U.S. filmmaker will receive the festival’s highest distinction in Locarno’s Piazza Grande on Aug. 16.

Hinstin said Waters’ “playful” work, which was “full of boldness and joy,” offered “a symbol of freedom far removed from the political correctness ruling today.”

“For my first edition, offering John Waters the highest distinction of the festival is a perfect manifesto,” said Hinstin. “His political and aesthetic commitment is vital in these times, and I am extremely happy and honored to share his incredible work with the audience of Locarno.”

Waters’ appearance in the Piazza Grande will be followed by a ‘Crazy Midnight’ screening – the festival’s new strand introduced to the program this year – of his 2000 film “Cecil B. DeMented.”

A selection of Waters’ other films will also accompany the career tribute, with the director in attendance for screenings of his 1974 classic “Female Trouble,” featuring regular collaborator Divine, and his most recent film, 2004’s “A Dirty Shame.” His 1981 title “Polyester,” starring Divine and Tab Hunter, will be shown in Odorama, with audience members given scratch-n-sniff cards.

The Baltimore native will also take part in an Aug. 17 panel discussion at the Spazio Cinema, as well as an exclusive session for young cinema talents selected for the Locarno Academy.

Asked to select a silent film to screen during the festival, Waters chose King Vidor’s 1928 Hollywood satire “Show People,” which will screen on the festival’s opening day.

Last year’s Pardo d’onore was awarded to French director Bruno Dumont. Previous recipients include Samuel Fuller, Jean-Luc Godard, Ken Loach, Sydney Pollack, William Friedkin, Werner Herzog, Agnes Varda, Michael Cimino, Jia Zhang-ke, Alejandro Jodorowsky, and Todd Haynes.

The 72nd edition of the Locarno Film Festival runs Aug. 7-17.

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