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Jeremy Colson's festival coverage.

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Visiting Athens, Bangkok, Cairo, Hanoi, Hiroshima, Phuket, Istanbul, Antalya, Estonia, Calcutta, Goa, Trivandrum, Kathmandu, Neasden and more.


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Locarno set to start tomorrow with 50 short films and 29 features



Starting tomorrow, around 200,000 cinema-goers, more than 1,100 journalists, and 3,200 professionals will converge on the small Swiss-Italian town of Locarno, which becomes the world capital of cinema. 

Since its inception 65 years ago, Locarno has become recognized as one of the leading international festivals for auteur cinema, and this year’s line-up looks likely to reaffirm the event’s stellar position.

Four competitions –– Concorso Internazionale, Concorso Cineasti del Presente, Pardi di Domani and Moving Ahead –– will see the screening of 50 short films and 29 features. They will dance within a program that leaves no room for boredom, and an edition that now more than ever wants to highlight discoveries, broken norms, courage and other visions, even at the cost of creating divisions. 

Boundaries will be tested, as in the Concorso internazionale entry During Revolution. The first feature of director Maya Khoury, of the Abounaddara collective, it is a work focusing on political gestures against the fragile and chaotic backdrop of war in Syria. 

As always, Locarno will also feature returns, such as Pedro Costa's with Vitalina Varela. Once again, Locarno will alternate well-known names of contemporary cinema such as Koji Fukada, Ulrich Köhler, Henner Winckler and Rabah Ameur-Zaïmeche with filmmakers who have been lauded by international cinephiles, like Joao Nicolau, Damien Manivel, Eloy Enciso, Rúnar Rúnarsson, Yosep Anggi Noen and PARK Jung-bum. 

And then there are the first-timers, the first steps taken by directors who hope to find a jump-off point in Locarno: Nadège Trebal, Basil da Cunha, Maura Delpero, Maya Da-Rin, Mina Mileva and Vesela Kazakov. 

The line-up of the Cineast del Presente competition is just as varied and bold, with works walking the line between documentary and fiction, triggering a new kind of cinema, a new perspective and a new development. 

Discoveries include actress Jeanne Balibar's second directorial effort, Merveilles à Montfermeil, and the world seen through the eyes of Laika, the first dog sent into orbit (Space Dogs, by Elsa Kremser and Levin Peter). Plus, the enchanted summer solstices of American teenagers (Ham on Rye, by Tyler Taormina) and Klaudia Reynicke's surreal feminist manifesto Love Me Tender, not to mention two very different African films that embody a cinema constantly engendering a new perspective (143 rue du désert, by Hassen Ferhani, and Baamum Nafi, by Namadou Dia). 

And then, alongside the renewed Moving Ahead section, where cinema is re-imagined from the ground up and goes beyond the viewer's gaze, there's the room of wonders for the Locarno audience: the shorts. Pardi di Domani features fifty filmmakers who will showcase just as many nuances in their first cinematic endeavours. Locarno72 will be their home, but without walls.

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About Jeremy Colson

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This is the diary of a festival ambassador travelling throughout Asia and elsewhere around the world.  Festivals covered include: Bangkok, Phuket, Istanbul, Antalya, Estonia, London, Calcutta, Goa, Trivandrum, Chennai, Neasden and more


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