×

Pedro Costa’s ‘Vitalina Varela’ Triumphs at Locarno Film Festival

The 72nd Locarno Film Festival drew to a close Saturday with Portuguese auteur Pedro Costa’s dark and detached film “Vitalina Varela” coming away with several awards together with superlatives from segments of the hardcore cinephile crowd, including jury president Catherine Breillat.

In announcing the Golden Leopard prize for the film, as well as best actress to its eponymous star, Breillat was emphatic in saying that Costa’s achievement goes beyond mere awards, insisting on its place in the cinema pantheon.

Costa was the most prominent name in the International Competition selection this year, which marked Lili Hinstin’s first edition as festival director. Other awards in the main section went to Park Jung-bum’s “Height of the Wave” (Special Jury Prize) and Damien Manivel as best director for “Isadora’s Children,” with the top actor going to Regis Myrupu in Maya Da-Rin’s “The Fever.” All the prizes reflected the jury’s marked preference for a well-established trend in contemporary art-house cinema favoring form over content, aestheticized atmosphere over traditional storytelling.

In the Cineasti del presente section, reserved for upcoming directors, the Golden Leopard went to Senegal’s Mamadou Dia, a Tisch School graduate, for his debut feature about family differences and Islamic radicalization, “Nafi’s Father” (the film also won the Swatch First Feature Award). The best emerging director prize was given to Algerian filmmaker Hassan Ferhani for his documentary “143 Sahara Street,” while the special jury prize was awarded to “Ivana the Terrible,” a Romanian-Serbian coproduction directed by Ivana Mladenović.

This year’s Piazza Grande selection, usually reserved for films with greater appeal to general audiences, was notable for a clear programming direction that saw darker themes than in the past mixed with broader comedies and the occasional fantasy feature. Variety’s Piazza Grande award, given to the film that best combines artistic vision with popular appeal, went to “Instinct,” a tense, strongly-played Dutch production by Halina Reijn.

Hinstin’s programming for her first year as festival director continued the inclination of her predecessor Carlo Chatrian in privileging films that sit squarely in the more challenging reaches of world cinema, though the traditional identities of the different sections seemed less categorizable than in the recent past. The draw of Hollywood however is something difficult to shake, and John Waters’ cinema chat was greatly appreciated by both journalists and public.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Beyonce Knowles'The Lion King' film premiere,

    ABC Announces Behind-the-Scenes Special for Beyoncé's 'Lion King' LP

    ABC has announced a new behind-the-scenes look into the making of Beyoncé’s “The Lion King: The Gift” LP, which is set to air September 16 on ABC at 10 p.m. EST. Titled “Beyoncé Presents: Making the Gift,” the new hour-long special will allow viewers to “experience the process” behind the “Lion King” companion album, according [...]

  • Jason Lei Howden, Samara Weaving and

    Daniel Radcliffe On Acting With Weapons Nailed To Your Hands

    How did “Guns Akimbo” director and writer Jason Lei Howden convince Daniel Radcliffe to play a character with guns nailed to his hands? Easy, he sent him the script. Radcliffe joined Howden and “Ready or Not’s” breakout star Samara Weaving in the Variety’s Toronto Film Festival studio, presented by AT&T to talk the limits of [...]

  • Box Office: It Chapter Two Maintains

    Box Office: 'It: Chapter Two' Continues International Reign With $47 Million

    Pennywise’s reign of terror hasn’t wavered: Warner Bros.’ “It Chapter Two” maintained first place on box office charts, led by another strong showing overseas. The sequel, based on Stephen King’s horror novel, generated another $47 million at the international box office for a foreign tally of $169 million. After two weeks of release, “It Chapter [...]

  • First still from the set of

    Taika Waititi’s 'Jojo Rabbit' Wins Top Prize at Toronto Film Festival Awards

    Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” has won the coveted People’s Choice Award at this year’s Toronto International Film Festival. The honor positions the film for a potential Oscar run and bolsters its awards chances. That’s good news for Fox Searchlight, which must have been disappointed by the lackluster critical reception for the movie, a dark comedy [...]

  • Constance Wu and Jennifer Lopez star

    Box Office: 'Hustlers' Racks Up Solid $33 Million Debut, 'Goldfinch' Bombs

    “Hustlers” rolled in the Benjamins this weekend, collecting $33.2 million when it debuted in 3,250 North American theaters. Boosted by rave reviews and stellar word of mouth, “Hustlers” beat expectations and now ranks as the best start for an STX film, along with the biggest live-action opening weekend for stars Jennifer Lopez and Constance Wu. [...]

  • German Cinema Is Diverse, But Is

    German Cinema Is Varied, But Is It Too Risk Averse?

    One of the strengths of German cinema is its diversity, says Simone Baumann, managing director of the national film promotion agency German Films. As well as the three films at Toronto directed by female German helmers, there was also German filmmaker Thomas Heise’s documentary film essay “Heimat Is a Space in Time.” Then there were [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content