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Locarno Fest closes with awards and Nashville


The 58th installment of the Locarno film festival at the Tippety-top of glorious Lago Maggiore in the Italian Speaking part of Switzerland (Ticino) got underway on Wednesday, August 3rd and concluded August 13. Some 300 films of all kinds will be projected at numerous venues all over town, but the main event is the slate of 18 features in competition for the spotted leopard awards, the jungle cat in question being the symbol of this fabulous Alpine resort city for nearly a hundred years – or long before Visconti’s famous film “Il gato pardo” = The Leopard
The Awards
GOLDEN LEOPARD: Grand prize for best film in international competition.
"Nine Lives" by Rodrigo Garcia, USA

Special Jury Prize; "Un Couple Parfait" (A perfect couple), France, directed by Nobuhiro Suwa, starring Valeria Bruni/Tedeschi.

Silver Leopard, Second prize;"Fratricide", a film about Kurdish and Turkish relations and conflicts in Germany. Director, Yilmaz Aslan.

Silver Leopard for Best first or Second film: "3 GRAD KAELTER" (Three degrees cooler), dir. Florian Hoffmeister ¨Leopard for best Actrice: The ensemble of the actresses of the film "Nine Lives", by Rodrigo Garcia, USA.

Leopard for Best Actor;Patrick Drolet, for "La Neuvaine", Director, Bernasrdo Edmond, Canada.

Special Mention to the Quay Brothers, for the visionary atmosphere in the film "The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes" -- (My own personal favorite for "catchiest film title of the fest")

Special mention, Cevat Gechtan, actor, for his outstanding performance in "Fratricide" by Yilmaz Aslan.

Video Competition: Golden Leopard shared between, "Les etats nordiques", by Denis Coté, Canada, and "Masahista" by Brilliarte Mendoza, Phillipines.

There were numerous other minor prizes and "special mentions" in categories such as "Leopards of Tomorrow", "New Swiss Talent" and other too varied and mystical to enter into.

The closing film of the festival on the giant screen in Piazza grande was Robert Altman's magnum opus "NASHVILLE", selected by Irene Biniardi as her own personal Locarno swan song, retiring after five years as artisitic director of the festival. ExplainIng the choice Irene, who is a recognized Italian expert on the American cinema, says that "Nashville" made in 1975 is one of the most significant American films of the last quarter of the century, summing up conditions and attitudes which prevailed in the United States at the time and which still prevail today. I didn't care for "Nashville" when it first came out -- in fact I hated it as being pretentious, unpleasant, and phoney. In the Piazza Grande with both German and French sub-titles it was even more pretentious so I opted to close my festival out with an old reliable -- CITIZEN KANE -- which closed out the Welles retrospective as well. It was unquestionably the right choice.

Alex Deleon


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