Magazine article Screen International

Serra's Death Wins Locarno Golden Leopard

Magazine article Screen International

Serra's Death Wins Locarno Golden Leopard

Article excerpt

Europa Cinemas Label awarded to Tableau Noir; Fipresci prize goes to What Now? Remind Me. Talk of Marco Mueller's return with new Palazzo project.

Catalan director Albert Serra was the surprise winner of this year's Golden Leopard in Locarno for a historical drama with a difference, Story Of My Death.

Described by Serra by as "a movie about the beauty of horror, and also about the horror of beauty," Story Of My Death imagines an encounter between Casanova of 18th rationalism and Count Dracula from the romantic 19th century.

French co-producer Capricci Films is handling international sales on the Spanish-French co-production which will be screened in Toronto's Wavelengths programme next month.

However, films tipped for Leopard statuettes such as Claire Simon's Gare du Nord and David Wnendt's Wetlands were passed over by the International Jury headed by Filipino director Lav Diaz. Moreover, local Ticino actress Carla Juri, who had been feted by festival audiences and critics for her bravura performance as Helen Memel in Wetlands lost out to American actress Brie Larson, who was awarded the Best Actress Leopard for her role in Destin Cretton's Short Term 12.

Nevertheless, Juri, who had been Switzerland's Shooting Star at the Berlinale this year and received a Swiss Film Prize Quartz for Dällebach Kari in March, is now sure to have left a lasting impression on the international industry after the presentation of Wetlands.Apart from the Golden Leopard, the Iberian peninsula also attracted the Jury's Special Prize for What Now? Remind Me by Portugal's Joaquim Pinto, while US filmmaker Destin Cretton's SXSW award-winner Short Term 12 picked up the Best Actress Leopard, a Special Mention from the International Jury, and the Ecumenical Jury's Prize.

The MEDIA-backed exhibitors' network Europa Cinemas awarded its label in Locarno for the first time this year to a documentary Tableau Noir about the closing of a school in the Swiss mountains, the first film by French-Swiss film-maker Yves Yersin for 15 years.In addition, the international film critics' association FIPRESCI presented its prize to Portugal's Joaquim Pinto for What Now? Remind Me which chronicles a year of his life undergoing clinical trials to combat his HIV and Hepatitis C.

The full list of winners is below.

Chatrian - no 'big surprises'Speaking exclusively to ScreenDaily, Locarno's artistic director Carlo Chatrian looked back on his first edition ahead of the awards ceremony on Saturday evening. ¨There weren't any big surprises," he said."neither during the selection process nor at the festival itself. It's true that there was a difference between what I imagined it would be like and the reality, especially in the first weekend when I tried to introduce all of the two competitions' films as well as be on the Piazza Grande. That squeezed me a little bit, but I enjoyed it a lot!"

"There was a really good atmosphere with people talking with one another in a friendly and informal way - that's what I wanted to achieve at the festival," he continued, pointing out that "the bridge between the sections sought to create a common line either in terms of content, such as the issue of the identity of a family, community or a country, or in terms of language because there were films working with narration in a very original and strange way in both competitions as well as the programme strand called Signs of Life."

Chatrian explained that this year's tributes - to such luminaries of cinema as Christopher Lee, Jacqueline Bisset, Faye Dunaway and Anna Karina - aimed to cast the net further than than just actors or directors

"Douglas Trumbull was the best example to start with for those people 'behind the scenes' who have had such an influence on films," he argued. "Douglas is still very much in the middle of things and keeping up to date with developments."

Moreover, Chatrian had been pleased that Georgian film-maker Otar Iosseliani has accepted his invitation to come to Locarno because "he has a unique voice and style , works very organically and with the real tools of cinema. …

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