Dillon’s career as an actor and director will be celebrated by the Swiss fest dedicated to indie cinema during a ceremony on Aug. 4 in the 8,000-seat Piazza Grande outdoor screening venue, followed by an onstage conversation the next day.
Tribute screenings will comprise Gus Van Sant’s “Drugstore Cowboy” (1989) featuring Dillon’s powerful performance as a “dope fiend,” as he calls himself, who steals pharmaceuticals in Portland drugstores, and “City of Ghosts” (2003) which Dillon co-wrote, directed, and starred in alongside James Caan, Gerard Depardieu, and Stellan Skarsgård.
Locarno in a statement praised Dillon for having been able to “navigate numerous cinematic territories” starting from his debut at 14 in Jonathan Kaplan’s teen rebellion drama “Over the Edge,” segueing to his work with Francis Ford Coppola who cast the young Dillon in “The Outsiders” (1983) and “Rumble Fish” (1983), then venturing into genre films that are now cult classics such as the Farrelly brothers’ “There’s Something About Mary” (1998) and to works by European auteurs such as Lars von Trier’s “The House That Jack Built” (2018) and, more recently, Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Nimic” (2019).
Among other standout titles Dillon has starred in are Cameron Crowe’s “Singles” (1992); Ted Demme’s romcom “Beautiful Girls” (1996) opposite Uma Thurman and Natalie Portman; and Paul Haggis-directed “Crash” (2004) in which Dillon plays a racist cop, and for which he scored an Oscar nomination.
In 2014 Dillon starred in Chad Hodge’s television series “Wayward Pines” executive produced by M. Night Shyamalan. Soon to be released is the Apple comedy series “High Desert,” directed by Jay Roach, in which Dillon stars opposite Patricia Arquette.
Dillon’s second feature film as director, the doc “El Gran Fellove,” about Cuban scat singer and showman Francisco ‘el Gran’ Fellove, premiered at San Sebastian in 2020.
“Matt Dillon embodies with supreme freedom an idea of the American artist and cinema that we deeply love: The restlessness of youth and the freedom of maturity,” said Locarno artistic director Giona A. Nazzaro in a statement.
Nazzaro went on to praise Dillon as “A performer who has built lasting, trans-generational success without ever shying away from exploring new challenges and languages.”
The 75th anniversary of Locarno will run Aug. 4-14.