“Rock star” Streep to open Locarno

Norton, Garcia and Cimino to receive honours.

by Richard Mowe

Meryl Streep dreams of becoming a rock star in Ricki And The Flash
Meryl Streep dreams of becoming a rock star in Ricki And The Flash Photo: Courtesy of Sony Pictures

Next month’s 68th edition of the Locarno Film Festival will open with the the world premiere of Jonathan Demme’s Ricki And The Flash due to screen at the Piazza Grande on 5 August before a crowd of more than 7,000 spectators, it was revealed today (15 July).

Meryl Streep stars as a woman who abandons her family to pursue her dream of becoming a rock star. Streep’s daughter Mamie Gummer also stars in the film, alongside Kevin Kline, Rick Springfield and Audra McDonald. Diablo Cody wrote the script. The film is due to open in the States two days after its Locarno premiere.

Robert De Niro in The Deer Hunter, part of a Locarno tribute to director Michael Cimino
Robert De Niro in The Deer Hunter, part of a Locarno tribute to director Michael Cimino

There is a distinct Stars and Stripes emphasis in this year’s line-up with actor Edward Norton receiving Locarno’s Excellence Award on the festival's opening night and no fewer than five US titles out of the 16 films due to be shown under the stars in the Festival’s prime arena in the ancient town square close to Lake Maggiore. Amy Schumer and Bill Hader will be in attendance for Trainwreck, and there are slots for Antoine Fuqua’s Southpaw and Alfonso Gomez-Rejon’s Me And Earl And The Dying Girl.

Michael Cimino’s The Deer Hunter will show as part of a retrospective of the director who is to receive a lifetime achievement award, the Pardo d’Onore. American director Jerry Schatzberg heads up the competition jury and US actor Andy Garcia will also be honoured with the Leopard Club Award.

Hollywood rebel Sam Peckinpah is the subject of a comprehensive retrospective of 37 titles including Pat Garrett & Billy The Kid, Straw Dogs, Major Dundee, and The Wild Bunch. The Mexican actress Isela Vega, the Austrian actress Senta Berger and the producer and Peckinpah collaborator Kathy Haber will be on hand to talk about his career.

In addition there are two American films in competition - Josh Mond’s James White, starring Christopher Abbott and Cynthia Nixon, and Rick Alverson’s Entertainment, starring John C. Reilly and Michael Cera.

Director Michael Cimino - retrospective in Locarno
Director Michael Cimino - retrospective in Locarno

Other tributes include a Pardo d’onore to Italian director Marco Bellocchio as well as Oscar-winning editor and sound designer Walter Murch who will receive the Vision Award.

Among the films competing for the top prizes are Pietro Marcello’s Bella E Perduta, Cosmos by Andrzej Zulawski, Happy Hour by Ryusuke Hamaguchi, No Home Movie by Chantal Akerman and O Futebol by Sergio Oksman.

From the UK there is a work by Ben Rivers which must be a contender for longest title: The Sky Trembles And The Earth Is Afraid And The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers. It takes place in the Moroccan Sahara which is littered with the legacy of films shot in its dramatic vistas: abandoned sets that reveal the artifice of filmmaking and trigger our recollection of the half-imagined spaces of familiar films from decades past. Rivers explores the illusion of filmmaking in Morocco.

New directors competing for Locarno prizes include Mauro Herce who is bringing Dead Slow Ahead, Vincent Macaigne’s Dom Juan, Steve Chen’s Dream Land and Igor Drljaca’s The Waiting Room.

Amy Schumer and  LeBron James in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck
Amy Schumer and LeBron James in Judd Apatow’s Trainwreck

The festival’s co-production Lab Open Doors will feature 12 projects from Morocco, Tunisia, Algeria and Libya. And the First Look post-production workshop features cinema from Israel.

Festival director Carlo Chatrian says: “Locarno is the place which preserves and renews that exchange between the gaze and a community, between a story that is shared and stories to be discovered. Hence our insistence that every year the Festival programme gives due space to the re-reading of film history via awards, tributes, special programmes.”

The festival runs from 5 to 15 August

Programm Highlights

Piazza Grande

Ricki And The Flash, by Jonathan Demme (US)

La Belle Saison, by Catherine Corsini (France)

Le Dernier Passage, by Pascal Magontier (France)

Der Staat Gegen Fritz Bauer, by Lars Kraume (Germany)

Southpaw, by Antoine Fuqua (US)

Trainwreck, by Judd Apatow (US)

Jack, by Elisabeth Scharang (Austria)

Floride, by Philippe Le Guay (France)

The Deer Hunter, by Michael Cimino (United Kingdom/US)

Guibord S’En Va-T-En Guerre, by Philippe Falardeau (Canada)

Bombay Velvet, by Anurag Kashyap (India)

Amnesia, by Barbet Schroeder (Switzerland/France)

La Vanité, by Lionel Baier (Switzerland/France)

Qing Tian Jie Yi Hao (The Laundryman), by Lee Chung (Taiwan)

Me And Earl And The Dying Girl, by Alfonso Gomez-Rejon (US)

I Pugni I Tasca (Fists In The Pocket), by Marco Bellocchio (Italy)

Heliopolis, by Sérgio Machado (Brazil)

International Competition

Bella E Perduta, by Pietro Marcello (Italy)

Brat Dejan (Brother Dejan), by Bakur Bakuradze (Russia/Serbia)

Chevalier, by Athina Rachel Tsangari (Greece)

Cosmos, by Andrzej Zulawski (France/Portugal)

Entertainment, by Rick Alverson (US)

Happy Hour, by Ryusuke Hamaguchi (Japan)

Heimatland, by Lisa Blatter, Gregor Frei, Jan Gassmann, Benny Jaberg, Carmen Jaquier, Michael Krummenacher, Jonas Meier, Tobias Nölle, Lionel Rupp, Mike Scheiwiller (Switzerland/Germany)

James White, by Josh Mond (US)

Jigeumeun Matgo Geuttaeneun Teullida (Right Now, Wrong Then), by Hong Sangsoo (South Korea)

Ma Dar Behesht (Paradise), by Sina Ataeian Dena (Iran/Germany)

No Home Movie, by Chantal Akerman (Belgium/France)

O Futebol, by Sergio Oksman (Spain)

Schneider Vs. Bax, by Alex van Warmerdam (Netherlands/Belgium)

Suite Armoricaine, by Pascale Breton (France)

Sulgana Gini Aran (Dark In The White Light), by Vimukthi Jayasundara (Sri Lanka/France)

Te Prometo Anarquia, by Julio Hernández Cordón (Mexico/Germany)

The Sky Trembles And The Earth Is Afraid And The Two Eyes Are Not Brothers, by Ben Rivers (UK)

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