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Private wins the Golden Leopard

The Official Jury of the 57th Locarno International Film Festival:
Olivier Assayas, Director, France
René Burri, Photographer, Switzerland
Tilde Corsi, Producer, Italy
Udo Kier, Actor, Germany
David Robinson, Critic and film historian, UK
Sabiha Sumar, Director, Pakistan
Yu Lik-wai, Director, China

The jury has unanimously awarded the:
GOLDEN LEOPARD, Grand Prize of the City and Region of Locarno (90,000 SF to be
shared equally between the director and the producer) for the best film to
by Saverio Costanzo –

An English literature professor in Palestine, Mohammad lives with his wife and their five children. Their home, situated between a Palestinian village and an Israeli base, is soon caught in the cross-fire of the two opposing sides, thus becoming a highly strategic location which the army decides to commandeer. Despite the household being overrun by Israeli soldiers, Mohammad obstinately refuses to leave, convinced in his belief in non-violence that common ground can be found. The house is then divided into three distinct sections: the living room, where the family is locked in at night, the ground floor, which forms a living space for Mohammad and the family during the day, and the first floor, turned into a HQ for the military. Initially terrified, each family member reacts in a different way to the intruders’ threatening presence and to Mohammad’s authority. Only Mariam, the eldest daughter, agrees immediately to stay in the house, but unlike her father, feels that the soldiers must be resisted by violent means. However, over time, Mohammad’s position seems to have been justified. Will this provisional understanding hold in the face of the enormous pressure of an overlong war? In opting for a chamber piece, the director deals with the Israeli-Palestine confrontation from an unusual angle, the battle stakes crystallised in the few square metres which its protagonists inhabit. Based on a true story, the film also has a strongly symbolic dimension since the director spent four months auditioning Israeli and Palestinian actors who, very unusually, perform together here. The brilliant cast brings together stars from the two respective countries.

The Jury awarded the following prizes:
SPECIAL JURY PRIZE, Special Jury Prize City of Ascona and of Losone, (30,000 SF. to be shared equally between the director and the producer):
by Jun Ichikawa – Japan

SILVER LEOPARD Second prize of the City and of the Region of Locarno, (30,000 SF to be shared equally between the director and producer) for the second best film to
by Ayse Polat – Germany
SILVER LEOPARD the prize of the City and of the Region of Locarno (30,000 SF, to be shared equally between the director and producer) for the best first or second feature film
by Hassan Yektapanah – Iran/Ireland/Singapore


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