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Locarno Festival

The Locarno Film Festival cannot take place in 2020. It offers an on-site programme of films from previous years, and we made a selection of films that were shown at the festival or received honorary awards. You have to imagine the Piazza Grande: Dive in, discover, enjoy.

303 (2018)
Hans Weingartner
Germany
120′
On the way from Berlin to Portugal in her rusty '303' camper van, young biology student Jule picks up hitchhiker Jan. While having intense conversations about the society, the world and the nature of man, they try not to fall in love.
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Piazza Grande 2018
Piazza Grande 2013
Durak (2014)
Juri Bykow
Russia
121′
Dima Nikitin is a simple and honest plumber who works in a small Russian town. Except for his unusual integrity, nothing makes him stand out of the crowd, until one night in a dorm mainly occupied by drunkards and outcasts, the pipes burst, endangering the occupants. Everybody needs to be immediately evacuated but nobody cares, so Nikitin sets off on a night-long odyssey to fight an entire system of corrupt bureaucrats.
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Silver Leopard, best actor; Prize of the oecumenical Jury 2014, Don Quixote Award
Compétition 2017, Special Prize, ISPEC Cinema Award, Don Quixote Award; Youth Jury Award: Environment is Quality of Life
Prize of the oecumenical Jury Oecuménique and Fipresci Prize 2017
Matlosa (1981)
Villi Hermann
Switzerland
94′
Alfredo seems to lead the life of so many Ticinese families born in the valleys, who now only go back to their native village for the weekend. But Alfredo doesn’t longer experiences the journey as a form of escapism, but as an obsessive rite which is repeated over and over again. Alfredo has lost his own identity.
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Competition 1982
Piazza Grande, Excellence Award to Gael García Bernal, 2012
Terra em transe - Land Entranced (1967)
Glauber Rocha
Brazil
108′
El Dorado, a fictional country. Paulo, a poetry-writing intellectual, oscillates between the political extremes. First he devotes himself to the right-wing conservative Diaz, until he sees through the latter’s pseudo-religious fascism. Then he takes the side of Vieira, the populist reformer who wants to free the country of its misery. But Paulo’s true love is for Sara, the communist who works for Vieira. Paulo is forced to realize that both are interested only in power, not in change, and that they are willing to use any means to achieve their end. Disappointed and despairing, he sets off on his own path as a revolutionary, a path on which Sara is no longer able to follow him. He is shot and dies a lonely death, with a gun in his hand, sending a signal for others to take up arms. The lasting relevance of this masterpiece lies in the scene of long agony before Paulo dies. Sara calls out the question to him, “What does your death prove?” And he answers, “The victory of beauty and justice!” Glauber Rocha trusts in culture’s power of survival and connects it with the necessary struggle for social justice.
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Grand Prix 1967
I Pugni in Tasca (1965)
Marco Bellocchio
Italy
108′
Ale, a deeply disturbed young man subject to seizures, benignly decides to murder members of his dysfunctional family for altruistic reasons.
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Leopard of Honor 2015 to Marco Bellocchio
La belle saison (2015)
Catherine Corsini
France
106′
1971. Delphine, the daughter of farmers, moves to Paris to break free from the shackles of her family and to gain her financial independence. Carole is a Parisian, living with Manuel, actively involved in the stirrings of the feminist movement. Their encounter turns their lives upside down.
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Piazza Grande Award 2015
The suspended step of the stork (1991)
Theo Angelopoulos
Greece
136′
While working on a story in the border area, a young journalist discovers a divided town bisected by a river which is also the national frontier. He observes a surreal wedding in which the bride and her family stand on one shore and the groom and his relatives on the other, lost under a cold sky: figure in a landscape who only delude themselves that they are masters of the earth and their destiny The town, a remote ghost town, almost forgotten at the end of the world, has been named «waiting room» by the locals because most of its inhabitants are refugees from different countries many of whom have crossed the border illegally at some time or other and are now waiting for their turn to leave and start life anew «somewhere else.» In the course of his investigation he also comes upon an aging, reclusive refugee, who lives there cultivating a field. But the young journalist believes he is a famous Greek politician who disappeared years before, leaving behind him many unanswered questions. The man's identity is never resolved but the hapless refugees and divided village allow the reporter to understand his despair over the human condition. Theo Angelopoulos weaves yet another poetical allegory on the great open questions of our turbulent age. The film is very contemporary in its treatment of borders, refugees and a changing world since the fall of communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. «Being a refugee is an internal condition more than an external one, says one of the characters in the film. And later on he also says, «We've passed the borders but we're still here. How many frontiers do we have to pass to get home?» Do politicians really care? Does anyone? Finally, there is the image of the stranger standing on the bridge poised over the dividing line between the two countries. He has one leg suspended in mid air, like a stork. «If I take one more step I am... somewhere else, or... I die.»
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Raimondo Rezzonico Award 2003 to Ruth Waldburger
Teza (2008)
Haile Gerima
Ethiopia
133′
Anberber has studied in Germany and returns post-graduate to Ethiopia. He is full of hope that he can support his country with his newly acquired knowledge. It's a story about hope and disillusionment, about foreignness and homeland.
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Raimondo Rezzonico Award 2004 to Karl Baumgartner
Honorary Leopard 2007 to Hou Hsiao-hsien
Excellence Award 2010 to Isabelle Huppert
Le Havre (2011)
Aki Kaurismäki
France
93′
When an African boy arrives by cargo ship in the port city of Le Havre, an aging shoe shiner takes pity on the child and welcomes him into his home.
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Swiss Critics Boccalino Award 2011, Best Actress Kati Outinen
Amour (2012)
Michael Haneke
France
127′
Georg and Anna are around 80, cultivated music professors in retirement. The daughter, also a musician, lives abroad with her family. One day Anna has a seizure - it is the beginning of a test for the love of the two.
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Raimondo Rezzonico Award 2013 to Margaret Ménégoz
Chevalier (2015)
Athina Rachel Tsangari
Greece
105′
In the middle of the Aegean Sea, on a luxury yacht, six men on a fishing trip decide to play a game. During this game, things will be compared, measured and blood will be tested. Friends will become rivals, but at the end of the voyage, when the game is over, the winner will wear the victorious signet ring: the "Chevalier".
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Competition 2015
El mudo (2013)
Daniel und Diego Vega
Peru
87′
After a short investigation, the police concludes that the shot that almost killed justice commissionner Constantino Zegarra was in fact a stray bullet. But Constantino, convinced that someone wants him out of the way, re-opens the investigation. This soon leads him to exceed his own powers to prove he is right.
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Swiss Critics Boccalino Award, Best Actor 2013
Piazza Grande, Audience Award 2017
Baghdad in My Shadow (2019)
Samir Jamal Aldin
Switzerland
104′
A failed author, a wife in hiding, a clandestine gay IT-specialist meet in an Iraqi café in London. Incited by a radical Sheik, the author's nephew attacks them and turns their lives upside down.
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Competition 2019
Semaine de la critique 2015
The Prince of Nothingwood (2016)
Sonia Kronlund
France
86′
Director Sonia Kronlund accompanies the Afghan director, actor and screenwriter Salim Shaheen in her film Nothingwood. He is a well-known figure on the film scene in his home country, but hardly known abroad. About a hundred kilometers away from Kabul, Salim Shaheen comes to show some of his 110 films and to shoot the 111th in the process.
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Fuori concorso 2017
Familia sumergida (2018)
María Alché
Argentina
91′
Marcela’s world becomes strange and unfamiliar after her sister Rina dies. She feels lost in her own house, and her relationship with her husband and children seems to suffer. But when Nacho, a young friend of her daughter’s, unexpectedly drops by, she starts to talk and walk with him. Gradually Marcela begins to have conversations with relatives from another dimension.
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Filmmakers of the Present
Der Staat gegen Fritz Bauer (2015)
Lars Kraume
Germany
105′
The story of the man who brought high-ranking German Nazi criminal Adolf Eichmann to justice.
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Piazza Grande, Audience Award 2015
The Light Thief (2010)
Aktan Abdykalykow - Arym Kubat
Kyrgyzstan
79′
They call him "Svet-ake" ("Mr. Light"). The electrician is responsible for bringing more than just light to the people around him. Like moths, everybody is drawn to his kindness: those with short circuits in their electricity, and those with short circuits in their marriage, those who have taken all the power in the city, and those who have given up the will to live. He helps everyone and is everywhere. He doesn't even shy from breaking the law, rewinding an old and lonely pensioner's electricity meter so that he doesn't owe the State, but rather the State owes him. The economic devastation of the country has had an enormous impact on the working people and yet despite the upheaval they have not lost the ability to love, to suffer, to share their lives with friends, and enjoy what they have... in particular our resilient electrician who possesses a wonderful and open heart. He not only brings electric light (which is often out) to the lives of the inhabitants of this village, but he also spreads the light of love, loyalty, life, and most of all, lots of laughter. He only has two dreams: to someday have a son and to provide people with cheaper energy through wind power. Allen nennen ihn nur Svet-Ake (Herr Licht). Er ist der Elektriker des Orts, aber für viel mehr als nur für den Strom zuständig. Die Leute rufen den hilfsbereiten Mann zur Lösung der unterschiedlichsten Probleme, angefangen beim elektrischen Kurzschluss bis hin zum Beziehungskurzschluss. Egal, ob es die sind, die die ganze Energie einer Stadt kontrollieren wollen, oder jene, denen die Energie zum Leben fehlt: Svet-Ake ist immer zur Stelle mit praktischer Hilfe und Rat, auch wenn er manchmal das Gesetz zurechtbiegen muss. Da wird aus schierem Mitleid auch mal ein Stromzähler rückwärts eingestellt, so dass der bedürftige Benutzer statt der hohen Stromrechnung eine Gutschrift vom Elektrizitätswerk ausbezahlt bekommt. Doch Gutherzigkeit wird in einem Land, das mitten im politischen Umbruch steckt, nicht automatisch belohnt. Aktan Arym Kubat beschreibt in «Svet-Ake» auf vergnüglich lockere Art den Alltag im unabhängig gewordenen Kirgisistan und zeigt, indem er die Hauptrolle gleich selber spielt, dass die Menschen auch lernen müssen, mit der Freiheit umzugehen. The country is the midst of a revolution. Power lies in the hands of greed-driven people, obsessed with their personal enrichment. "Svet-ake" is a resistance against this dark madness. He who brings the light, takes it away, leaving the darkness in the dark. Only the light of the dream remains glowing in the night; a candle of a very delicate hope.
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Piazza Grande 2010

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