Controversial French title Baise-moi will make its first international outing in the main competition section at the Locarno International Film Festival, festival director Marco Mueller announced on Thursday.

Virginie Despentes' hard core debut, a cause celebre amongst French indies fighting would-be censors, will compete in a selection laden with world premieres from Europe and Asia but light on US fare.

In a statement, the festival said the film represented "a challenge to all those censorship committees around the world who would like to see films such as Baise-moi relegated to porn theatres or sinister Ministry corridors. This Thelma And Louise of projects has rightly found a host of defenders."

Michael Almereyda's Hamlet is the only US competition film. However, the US will be represented out of competition with high-profile studio films such as X-Men, which opens the event in Locarno's grand piazza.

The festival also announced a surprise film, to be screened in the main competition on Aug 10. Additionally, the event has launched a Kings of the B's section which will showcase three B-movie style low-budget pictures: Japan's Ko-rei, by Kiyoshi Kurosawa; Robert Louis Stevenson's The Suicide Club, by Rachel Samuels; and Un Uomo Da Perdere, by Italy's Walter Toschi.

Other sections include Leopards Of Tomorrow, which will focus on short films by Spanish filmmakers, and a Filmmakers of the Present sidebar for experimental films and videos. Soviet cinema from 1926-1968 will be the subject of a retrospective.


101 REYKJAVIK (international premiere)
Baltasar Kormakur, Iceland

LOVE, GOLD, LOVE (world premiere)
Philip Gröning, Germany

AZZURRO (world Premiere)
Denis Rabaglia, Switzerland/Italy

BAISE-MOI (international premiere)
Virginie Despentes and Coralie Trinh Thi, France

BRONX BARBES (international premiere)
Eliane De Latour, France

CRONICAMENTE INVIAVEL (international premiere)
Sergio Bianchi, Brazil

Lu Xuechang, China

GOSTANZA DA LIBBIANO (world premiere)
Paolo Benvenuti, Italy

HAMLET (international premiere)
Michael Almereyda, US

HOTARU (world premiere)
Naomi Kawase, Japan

THE LOW DOWN (world premiere)
Jamie Thraves, UK

MANILA (international premiere)
Romuald Karmakar, Germany

MUA OI (world premiere)
Dang Nhat Minh, Vietnam/France

NO QUARTO DA VANDA (world premiere)
Pedro Costa, Portugal

NOUTZAS SCOLA (world premiere)
Merab Kokotchachvili, Georgia

A RAIZ DO CORACAO (world premiere)
Paulo Rocha, Portugal

DER UEBERFALL (world premiere)
Florian Flicker, Austria

Fruit Chan, Hong Kong

Adam Minns IN LONDON contributed to this report