Locarno Roars with a Slate of Hot Art House Superstars

Berberian Sound Studio

While Cannes’ Quinzaine struggles to reframe its identity, its former artistic director Olivier Père continues to impress in his new job at the Locarno Film Festival. On Wednesday, he and his programming team unveiled a lineup that is absolutely salivatory, a who’s who for high-minded cinephiles. Perhaps most impressive of all, he has managed to once again nudge the festival’s selection aesthetic even deeper into esoteric ‘experimental’ territory without seeming all that radical. More than any other festival, Locarno is the home for the edgy projects that are too sophisticated for Cannes, whose cold shoulder to avant-garde narrative filmmaking becomes more glaring with each passing year. Check out the complete line-up at the bottom of this page.

In their International Competition, in which films compete for the increasingly prestigious Golden Leopard, we have a collaboration between João Pedro Rodrigues and his partner João Rui Guerra da Mata called The Last Time I Saw Macao (which we’d originally predicted to show up in the Quinzaine); more Quinzaine alum with Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, who follow-up La Pivellina with The Shine of Day; experimental Canadian documentarian Peter Mettler waxes existential again in the spacey The End of Time; and a mammoth-looking documentary thing from Sweetgrass director Lucien Castaing-Taylor and filmmaker Verena Paravel titled Leviathan, referencing the biblical sea monster and other literary creatures such as the whale in Melville’s Moby Dick.

The ‘Out of Competition’ selection is arguably just as enticing. Attenberg helmer Athina Rachel Tsangari presents a medium-length film commissioned by dOCUMENTA (13) called The Capsule and aims to evaluate and interpret fashion with a ‘novel approach’; the recently late Stephen Dwoskin – a key figure in the British avant-garde – delivers his sure-to-be-affecting final film Age Is…; avant-garde master of architectural inquiry Heinz Emigholz is staying very busy, and follows his other 2012 masterwork Parabeton – Pier Luigi Nervi und Römischer Beton up with Perret in France and Algeria.

The ‘Cinema of the Present’ sidebar primarily showcases new films by emerging – or recently emerged – talents, and might seem unfamiliar for now. The biggest title in the section by far is the new film by Pedro-González-Rubio, who follows up his festival hit Alamar with Inori, which is set in the southern part of Nara that got hit pretty hard by a typhoon in 2011. Meanwhile, other section feature new shorts by Jean-Marie Straub, and a short documentary about Jean-Luc Godard.

Also worth noting is the inclusion of some Sundance items in Zobel’s Compliance, Headland’s Bachelorette and he cherry picked some of the most noteworthy titles from the Directors’ Fortnight in Larraín’s No, Wheatley’s Sightseers and Room 237 from Rodney Ascher which played at both fests.

Complete lineup for the 2012 Locarno Film Festival

International Competition

The Last Time I Saw Macao (João Pedro Rodrigues & João Rui Guerra Da Mata)
Berberian Sound Studio (Peter Strickland) *** See pic above
Compliance (Craig Zobel)
The Shine of Day (Tizza Covi & Rainer Frimmel)
Image Problem (Simon Baumann & Andreas Pfiffner)
Jack and Diane (Bradley Rust Gray)
The Girl from Nowhere (Jean-Claude Brisseau)
Leviathan (Lucien Castaing-Taylor & Verena Paravel)
Greatest Hits (Nicolás Pereda)
Mobile Home (François Pirot)
Museum Hours (Jem Cohen)
The Landlords (Edoardo Gabbriellini)
Playback (Sho Miyake)
Polvo (Julio Hernández Cordon)
Somebody Up There Likes Me (Bob Byington)
Starlet (Sean Baker)
The End of Time (Peter Mettler)
Une Estonienne a Paris (Ilmar Raag)
When Night Falls (Ying Liang) [JeonJu]

Piazza Grande

Bachelorette (Leslye Headland)
Bonjour Tristesse (Otto Preminger) [1958]
Camille Rewinds (Noémie Lvovsky)
The Swiss Miss Massacre (Michael Steiner)
Lore (Cate Shortland)
Magic Mike (Steven Soderbergh)
More Than Honey (Markus Imhoof) [Closing Film]
Motorway (Soi Cheang)
Lullaby Ride (Christoph Schaub)
No (Pablo Larraín)
Quelques heures de printemps (Stéphane Brizé)
Ruby Sparks (Jonathan Dayton & Valerie Faris)
Sightseers (Ben Wheatley)
The Sweeney (Nick Love) [Opening Film]
While We Were Here (Kat Coiro)
Wrong (Quentin Dupieux)

Out Of Competition

Age Is… (Stephen Dwoskin)
Chiri (Naomi Kawase)
I, Anna (Barnaby Southcombe)
Fairy Queen (Jean-Paul Civeyrac)
Far from Afghanistan (John Gianvito, Jon Jost, Minda Martin, Soon-mi Yoo, & Travis Wilkerson)
Ingrid Caven, musique et voix (Bertrand Bonello)
The Enclosure of Time (Jean-Charles Fitoussi)
Rich is the Wolf (Damien Odoul)
Les coquillettes (Sophie Letourneur)
The Sound of Waves (Ryusuke Hamaguchi & Ko Sakai)
Perret in France and Algeria (Heinz Emigholz)
Rio (Sarah Morris)
The Capsule (Athina Rachel Tsangari) [short]

Cinema of the Present

Ape (Joel Potrykus)
Arraianos (Eloy Enciso)
Good Luck, Sweetheart (Daniel Aragão)
Inori (Pedro González-Rubio)
Memories Look at Me (Song Fang)
The Sinkholes (Antoine Barraud)
Les Mouvements du Bassin (HPG)
Not in Tel Aviv (Nony Geffen)
Orléans (Virgil Vernier)
People’s Park (Libbie Dina Cohn & J.P. Sniadecki)
Tectonics (Peter Bo Rappmund)
Tower (Kazik Radwanski)
Tutti Giù (Niccolò Castelli)
Peculiar Vacation and Other Illnesses (Yosep Anggi Noen)
Winter, Go Away (Collective Documentary under the Artistic Supervision of Marina Razbezhkina)

Histoire(s) Du Cinema — New Documentaries

Cinemasuisse: Jean-luc Godard (Fabrice Aragno) [short]
Gazzara (Joseph Rezwin)
Kern (Veronika Franz & Severin Fiala)
Otto Preminger (André S. Labarthe)
Room 237 (Rodney Ascher)

Blake Williams is an avant-garde filmmaker born in Houston, currently living and working in Toronto. He recently entered the PhD program at University of Toronto's Cinema Studies Institute, and has screened his video work at TIFF (2011 & '12), Tribeca (2013), Images Festival (2012), Jihlava (2012), and the Pacific Film Archive in Berkeley. Blake has contributed to IONCINEMA.com's coverage for film festivals such as Cannes, TIFF, and Hot Docs. Top Films From Contemporary Film Auteurs: Almodóvar (Talk to Her), Coen Bros. (Fargo), Dardennes (Rosetta), Haneke (Code Unknown), Hsiao-Hsien (Flight of the Red Balloon), Kar-wai (Happy Together), Kiarostami (Where is the Friend's Home?), Lynch (INLAND EMPIRE), Tarantino (Reservoir Dogs), Van Sant (Last Days), Von Trier (The Idiots)