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Locarno Festival

The Locarno Film Festival could not take place in 2020. 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.

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
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
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
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 2013
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 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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