LocarnoInternational Film Festival's Irene Bignardiis promising a journey into "uncharted territories"forher final year as artistic director with 12 world premieres in its 15-titlecompetition line-up of films.
Whileadmitting that 2005 was "undoubtedly a complex and difficult year forinternational production", Bignardi told Screendaily.com that she"very happy that we discovered a number of films which are 'ours' and verymuch in line with Locarno's character: films like the Japanese Nobuhiro Suwa's UnCouple Parfait or Antonio Capuano's La Guerra Di Mario which areborderline, operating outside of genres and pretty extreme in their ownfield."
Sheexplained that three common threads - personal themes, social issues andfantasy elements - could be identified as running through the competition filmsthis year.
"Onthe one hand, you have Suwa's incredibly sensitive handling of the end of amarriage in Un Couple Parfait and, on the other, there are a number offilms responding to today's reality such as A Perfect Day from Lebanonor We Are All Fine from Iran," Bignardi said.
"Thetitle of Bizhan Mirbagheri's film belies the fact that nobody is actually fine.Moreover, the two British films - Mirrormask and The Piano Tuner OfEarthquakes belong to a kind of special humanist world and are twovery magical films about the exploration of the self."
Along with the International Competition, the number offilms screened in the nightly open-air programme on Locarno's Piazza Grande hasbeen reduced this year.
But Bignardi explained that the absence of US blockbustersin the Piazza Grande open-air programme "was neither planned nordesired", but was a direct result of the growing problem of film piracywhich made the US studios reluctant to give their Autumn releases to Locarno.
ThePiazza Grande programme will open with the world premiere of Indian filmmakerKetan Mehta's The Rising - following in the tradition of Locarno'sparticular focus on Indian cinema - and will also special screenings of filmsto honour the 2005 edition's special guests before rounding off on August 13with a presentation of Robert Altman's 30-year-old Nashville with one ofthe stars Geraldine Chaplin in attendance.
As"final fireworks" to end her five years as artistic director, thefestival will be presenting three Leopards of Honour in recognition of threeaspects of cinema to Wim Wenders, Abbas Kiarostami and Terry Gilliam.
Aspreviously reported, the UK producer Jeremy Thomas is to be this year'srecipient of the Raimondo Rezzonico Prize, while last year's newly createdExcellence Award will be awarded at this edition to John Malkovich who willalso host an acting masterclass during the festival. In addition, there will bespecial tributes paid to the veteran cinematographer Vittorio Storaro and thedocumentary filmmaker Albert Maysles with Christo and Jean-Claude.
Meanwhile,it was revealed yesterday (July 12) that the festival's deputy artisticdirector Teresa Cavina will also be stepping down after the end of thisfestival. According to Swiss film industry sources, Locarno's administrativeboard will have the question of Bignardi's successor on the agenda for itsmeeting on the Sunday (August 14) after the festival.
Amongthe names which have surfaced in recent weeks as possible candidates forartistic director are Jean Perret, the director of the Nyon International FilmFestival "Visions du Reel", Wieland Speck, head of the Berlinale'sPanorama section, and former Venice Film Festival chief Alberto Barbera.
LOCARNO 2005: International Competition
3 Grad Kaelter (Three Degrees Colder) by Florian Hoffmeister (Germany)World Premiere
20 Centimetros by Ramon Salazar (Spain)Int. sales: Sogepaq International Premiere
Antarmahal (The Views of the Inner Chamber) by Rituparno Ghosh (India)World Premiere
Un Couple Parfait by Nobuhiro Suwa (Japan/France)World Premiere
Fratricide by Yilmaz Arslan (Germany/Luxembourg/France)Int. sales: Wild BunchWorld Premiere
La Guerra Di Mario by Antonio Capuano (Italy)Int. sales: The WorksWorld Premiere
Keller - Teenage Wasteland by Eva Urthaler (Austria/Germany/Italy)World Premiere
Ma Hameh Khoubim (We Are All Fine) by Bizhan Mirbagheri (Iran)Int. sales: Film IRAN World Premiere
Mirrormask by Dave McKean (England/USA) Int. sales: Sony EntertainmentInternational Premiere
La Neuvaine by Bernard Emond (Canada)Int. sales: Les Films Seville Inc. World Premiere
Nine Lives by Rodrigo Garcia (USA)International Premiere
A Perfect Day by Joana Hadjithomas and Khalil Joreige (Lebanon/France)World Premiere
The Piano Tuner Of Earthquakes by Quay Brothers (UK/Germany/France)Int. sales: Celluloid Dreams World Premiere
Riviera by Anne Villaceque (France)Int. sales: Celluloid Dreams World Premiere
Snow White by Samir (Switzerland/Austria)World Premiere
SPECIAL EVENT OUTSIDE OF THE COMPETITION
Face Addict by Edo Bertoglio (Italy/Switzerland) (Documentary)World Premiere
Cinema Of The Present Section
by Joseph Cesarini, Jimmy Glasberg (France)
by Nicolas Wadimoff (Switzerland)
by Kiko Goifman (Brazil)
by Pierre Coulibeuf (France)
by Pascal Rambert (France)
CARTOGRAPHIE 6 - VALLEE DE LA JEUNESSE
by Fernand Melgar (Switzerland)
by Dominique de Rivaz (Switzerland)
by Damjan Kozole (Slovenia)
by Matias Bize (Chile)
by Fabienne Berthaud (France)
by Tekla Taidelli (Italy)
by Luciano Melchionna (Italy)
by Christian Frei (Switzerland)
by Isabelle Stever (Germany)
by Alejandro Valle, Felipe Gomez (Mexico)
IN UNALTRO PAESE
by Marco Turco (Italy/France)
by Natacha Samuel (France)
by Steve Buscemi (USA)
by Luis Ortega (Argentina)
by Olivier Smolders (Belgium/Holland)
by Francois Rotger (France/Canada/Japan)
by Alina Marazzi (Switzerland/Italy)
PETITMATIN (The Dawn)
by S. Louis (France)
PICCOLOSOLE - Vita e Morte di Henri Crotta
by Nino Bizzarri (Italy)
by Mary McGuckian (UK)
SANGUE- LA MORTE NON ESISTE
by Libero De Rienzo (Italy)
by Lina Bertucci (USA)
by Daniel Schweizer (Switzerland/France/Germany/Finland)
Piazza Grande - Open-air Programme
Being John Malkovich by Spike Jonze (USA)Int. sales: Universal Excellence Award to John Malkovich
Don't Come Knocking by Wim Wenders (Germany/USA)Int. sales: Hanway FilmsLeopard of Honour to Wim Wenders
The Flyer by Revel Fox (South Africa/Sweden)International Premiere
Mah Nakorn (Citizen Dog) by Wisit Sasanatieng (Thailand/France)Int. sales: EuropacorpInternational Premiere
Senjo No Merry Christmas/Merry Christmas Mr. Lawrence by Nagisa Oshima (Japan/UK/New Zealand)Raimondo Rezzonico Prize to Jeremy Thomas
Murderball by Dana Adam Shapiro, Henry Alex Rubin (USA)Int. sales: ThinkFilm CompanyInternational Premiere
Nashville by Robert Altman (USA)Closing evening
On A Clear Day by Gaby Dellal (UK)Int. sales: Icon Entertainment InternationalEuropean Premiere
One From The Heart by Francis Ford Coppola (USA)Homage and Excellence Award to Vittorio Storaro
Rize by David LaChappelle (USA)Int. sales: Lions Gate Films Inc.International Premiere
The Rising by Ketan Mehta (India)Int. sales: Capitol Films World Premiere
Village Football by Sainath Choudhury (India) Int. sales: Berlinale Talent CampusInternational Premiere
Zaina, Cavaliere De L'Atlas by Bourlem Guerdjou (France/Germany)World Premiere
Zir E Darakhatan E Zeyton / Through The Olive Trees by Abbas Kiarostami (France/Iran)Leopard of Honour to Abbas Kiarostami