At the end of the 75th Locarno International Film Festival, German cinema has a good chance of winning an award. But the competition is strong.
Locarno – The Golden Leopard, the main prize, and other awards will be presented at a gala under the stars at the finale of the 75th Locarno International Film Festival on Saturday evening. The chances for German cinema are good. “Human Flowers of Flesh” by director Helena Wittmann and “Piaffe” by director Ann Oren received a lot of applause at the festival in Switzerland.
But the German works have strong competition. A total of 17 films from all over the world were screened in the international competition. The social study “The Declaration” by Indian director Mahesh Narayanan, the doomsday poem “Sermon to the Fishes” by director Hilal Baydarov from Azerbaijan and the youth drama “I Have Electric Dreams” by director Valentina Maurel from Costa Rica are also high on the agenda.
Nevertheless, surprises are possible – festival juries like to make decisions contrary to all expectations. In Locarno, this also applies to the audience award, which is determined by the vote of the spectators. The coveted award goes to one of the films shown outside of the international competition in the popular open-air screenings under the stars for around 8,000 spectators. Here, too, German cinema can hope: the anti-terrorist drama “You won’t get my hatred” by director Kilian Riedhof (“His Last Race”) could win.
Memories of the terrorist attack in the Bataclan
Riedhof’s moving feature film was inspired by the book of the same name by Frenchman Antoine Leiris. In it, the journalist recalls life with his 17-month-old son Melvil after his wife was killed in November 2015 in the Bataclan concert hall in Paris by Islamist terrorist attacks. Riedhof told the dpa on the sidelines of the Locarno film festival about his motive for shooting this film: “I read the novel and it was like a power surge for me. I had to make this film.”
As is traditional, the focus in Locarno again this year was on the work of young filmmakers. The festival has impressively confirmed its status as the most important international platform for young cinema talent. Flying visits from acting stars such as Sophie Marceau and Matt Dillon provided glamor. Juliette Binoche also came with her new film (“Paradise Highway”) and enthused: “It’s a strong festival with a lot of heart. Diamonds keep coming to the screen here.”
226 short, documentary, feature and experimental films were shown in various sections of the festival. The ten-day cinema festival in Locarno is considered the most important European film festival alongside Berlin, Cannes and Venice. The popularity of the viewers has confirmed the good reputation of the anniversary edition: since August 3, thousands of film fans from all over the world have celebrated the cinema as a unique opportunity to enjoy art together with a veritable storm at the film screenings on the Swiss shore of Lake Maggiore. dpa