Pardo d’oro.GODLESS by Ralitza Petrova, Bulgaria/Denmark/France on Piazza Grande 2016 Locarno Film Festival
Golden Leopard. GODLESS by Ralitza Petrova, Bulgaria/Denmark/France on Piazza Grande, 2016 Locarno Film Festival

The 2016 edition of the Locarno Film Festival came to a successful end on Saturday, and awarded its top prize, Pardo d’oro (Golden Leopard) to Godless, directed by Bulgarian filmmaker Ralitza Petrova. The film also won the award for Best Actress for Irena Ivanova.

International Competition

Golden Leopard
GODLESS by Ralitza Petrova, Bulgaria/Denmark/France
In a remote Bulgarian town, Gana looks after the elderly with dementia and traffics their ID cards on the black market. Her mother, with whom she hardly speaks, is jobless, and her relationship with her boyfriend is not great either, to put it mildly. With their sexual attraction vanished, their intimacy is reduced to their addiction to morphine. Nothing seems to have consequences for Gana; not even the incidental murder of a patient, who threatens to expose her little traffic. But things start to change when she hears Yoan, a new patient, singing. A growing empathy for the old man awakens her conscience, but when he is arrested for fraud, she learns that “doing the right thing” demands a high price.

(Special Jury Prize). INIMI CICATRIZATE (Scarred Hearts) by Radu Jude, Romania/Germany. 2016 Locarno Film Festiva
(Special Jury Prize). INIMI CICATRIZATE (Scarred Hearts) by Radu Jude, Romania/Germany. 2016 Locarno Film Festiva

Special Jury Prize
SCARRED HEARTS (INIMI CICATRIZATE) by Radu Jude, Romania/Germany
Romania, 1937. Emanuel, a 20-year-old young man, spends his days at a sanatorium on the Black Sea coast, suffering from bone tuberculosis. Falling in love with another patient, he narrates his and his fellow patients’ attempts to live life to the fullest as their bodies slowly fade away, but their minds refuse to give up. Inspired by Romanian author Max Blecher’s autobiographical novel Scarred Hearts, written before he died, after ten years of suffering, at the age of 29 years.

Best Direction
JOÃO PEDRO RODRIGUES for THE ORNITHOLOGIST (O ORNITÓLOGO), Portugal/France/Brazil
Fernando, a solitary ornithologist, is looking for black storks, a species under threat, along a remote river in northern Portugal, when he is swept away by the rapids. Rescued by a couple of Chinese pilgrims on the road to Santiago de Compostela, he plunges into an eerie and dark forest, trying to get back on his track. But gradually, as he encounters unexpected and uncanny obstacles and people who put him to the test, Fernando is impelled to extreme actions which transform him. Little by little, he becomes a different man, inspired, multi-faceted and finally, totally enlightened.

Best Actress
IRENA IVANOVA for GODLESS by Ralitza Petrova, Bulgaria/Denmark/France

(Best actor). ANDRZEJ SEWERYN for OSTATNIA RODZINA (The Last Family) by Jan P. Matuszyński, Poland. 2016 Locarno Film Festival
(Best actor). ANDRZEJ SEWERYN for OSTATNIA RODZINA (The Last Family) by Jan P. Matuszyński, Poland. 2016 Locarno Film Festival

Best Actor
ANDRZEJ SEWERYN for THE LAST FAMILY (OSTATNIA RODZINA) by Jan P. Matuszyński, Poland
Born in 1929, Zdzisław Beksiński, a Polish surrealist painter famous for his eerie post-apocalyptic works, is a cult artist who has portrayed decaying bodies and fantasized of hard core S&M sexual experiences. Known for his keen sense of humor, he is also scared of spiders and tending to his sick mother. His neurotic, suicidal son, Tomasz, is a cult radio DJ and translator, responsible for the Polish versions of Monty Python films. His wife, Zofia Beksińska, a devoted Catholic, endures these two eccentrics and glues the family together. As the parents try to prevent their son from hurting himself, their lives are defined by painting, a series of near-death experiences, funerals and changing trends in dance music.

Special Mention
MISTER UNIVERSE (MISTER UNIVERSO) by Tizza Covi, Rainer Frimmel, Austria/Italy
Tairo, a young lion-tamer, is unhappy. Losing his lucky charm gives him a reason to set off for a journey across Italy in search of Arthur Robin, a former Mister Universe, who gave him the charm a long time ago.

Filmmakers of the Present

THE HUMAN SURGE (EL AUGE DEL HUMANO) by Eduardo Williams
THE HUMAN SURGE (EL AUGE DEL HUMANO) by Eduardo Williams

Golden Leopard
THE HUMAN SURGE (EL AUGE DEL HUMANO) by Eduardo Williams, Argentina/Brazil/Portugal
Buenos Aires. Exe, 25 years old, has just lost his job and is not looking for another one. His neighbors and friends seem as odd to him as they always do. Online, he meets Alf, a boy from Mozambique who is also bored with his job and who is about to follow Archie, another boy who has run away into the jungle. Through the dense vegetation of the forest, Archie tracks ants back to their nest. One of them wanders off course and comes across Canh, a Filipino, sitting on top of a giant heap of earth and who is about to go back to his strange, beautiful home town, where he too has a miserable job.

(Special Jury Prize). THE CHALLENGE by Yuri Ancarani, Italy/France/Switzerland. 2016 Locarno Film Festival
(Special Jury Prize). THE CHALLENGE by Yuri Ancarani, Italy/France/Switzerland. 2016 Locarno Film Festival

Special Jury Prize
THE CHALLENGE by Yuri Ancarani, Italy/France/Switzerland
Falconry has a history that stretches back over 40 centuries. In the West it was a prevailing passion of the medieval aristocracy, but its prestige continues undiminished in contemporary Arab culture. Three years of observing this form of hunting in the field have made it possible to capture the spirit of a tradition that today allows its practitioners to keep a close rapport with the desert, despite their predominantly urban lifestyle. Our guide to how they cross that threshold is a falconer taking his birds to compete in a tournament in Qatar. In the glaring light of an empty landscape, following flight lines and lures, the film recounts a strange kind of “desert weekend”, in which technological and anthropological microcosms hang in the air, like the falcon, drifting on the irreversible currents of images.

(Prize for the best emerging director). MARIKO TETSUYA for DESTRUCTION BABIES, Japan. 2016 Locarno Film Festival
(Prize for the best emerging director). MARIKO TETSUYA for DESTRUCTION BABIES, Japan. 2016 Locarno Film Festival

Prize for the best emerging director
MARIKO TETSUYA for DESTRUCTION BABIES, Japan
Mitsuhama, a small and boring port city in Japan. Abandoned by their parents, Taira and Shouta Ashiwara, two teenage brothers, live in a shipyard by the sea. Taira often fights with students from other parts of the town, but one day, he disappears after being beaten up. While Shouta keeps looking for him everywhere, Taira begins a violent journey through the streets of the city, looking for tough men to beat up, driven by his obstinate ego that refuses to lose. Will he ever stop fighting?

Special Mention
DARK SKULL (VIEJO CALAVERA) by Kiro Russo, Bolivia/Qatar
Elder Mamaní’s father has died, and it looks as if young Elder couldn’t care less, even though he has no one to take care of him now. He goes to live with his grandmother in the outskirts of the mining city, Huanuni, where Francisco, his godfather, gives him a job at the mine. But it doesn’t take long for Elder, who cares more about getting high and wandering through dangerous alleys at night, to mess it up. But he soon finds out about a dark secret regarding Francisco’s involvement in his father’s death…

First Feature

Swatch First Feature Award (Prize for Best First Feature)
THE PERFECT FUTURE (EL FUTURO PERFECTO) by Nele Wohlatz, Argentina
Sitting on the edge of the yawning rift, she has waited too long, far too long, for the mountain to give her back her lover, trapped in the ice.

Eligible as Locarno’s short film nominee for the European Film Awards 2016.

Swatch Art Peace Hotel Award
STILL LIFE (MAUD ALPI) for GORGE CŒUR VENTRE, France

Special Mention
THE HUMAN SURGE (EL AUGE DEL HUMANO) by Eduardo Williams, Argentina/Brazil/Portugal
Xiaobin is 17 years old and does not speak a single word of Spanish when she arrives in Argentina. But a few days later, she already has a new name, Beatriz, and a job in a Chinese supermarket. Her family lives in a parallel world in a launderette, far removed from the Argentinians. Xiaobin secretly saves money and enrolls at a language school. She tries out in the street what she learns there. After having learned how to “make appointments”, she arranges to meet a supermarket customer, Vijay. He comes from India, and although they can barely communicate with each other, they start a secret relationship. And when she practices the conditional, the form of possibility, Xiaobin starts thinking about the future. What would happen if her parents learned about Vijay? The more she masters the Spanish language, the more she interferes in the scenario. Her Chinese classmates comment on the events like a chorus.

Leopards of Tomorrow (Pardi di domani)

International Competition

Golden Leopard for Best International Short Film – Prize SRG SSR
ROMANCE (L’IMMENSE RETOUR) by Manon Coubia, Belgium/France
Sitting on the edge of the yawning rift, she has waited too long, far too long, for the mountain to give her back her lover, trapped in the ice.

Eligible as Locarno’s short film nominee for the European Film Awards 2016.

Silver Leopard SRG SSR
CILAOS by Camilo Restrepo, France
To keep the promise she made to her dying mother, a young woman sets off to find  her father, a fickle man she has never known.  On the way, she discovers he is in fact dead, but, driven by the bewitching  rhythms of the Maloya, a Reunion Island ritual singing and musical tradition,  she does not abandon her goal: she must find her father.

Locarno Nomination for the European Film Awards
ROMANCE (L’IMMENSE RETOUR) by Manon Coubia, Belgium/France

Premio Film and Video Editing
VALPARAISO by Carlo Sironi, Italy
Rocio is 20 years old and has been detained in an identification and expulsion center in Rome, pending deportation to her country of origin. During her detention Rocio has become pregnant, but she is unwilling to reveal how or with whom this has happened, preferring to remain silent. By law, pregnant women cannot be detained. So Rocio is released, four months into her pregnancy and with a temporary permit of stay on maternity grounds. Now she is free, but must also go ahead with an unwanted pregnancy.

Eligible as Locarno’s short film nominee for the European Film Awards 2016.

Special Mention
NON CASTUS by Andrea Castillo, Chile
After her husband left her and entrenched in financial struggles, Trinidad takes her 21-year-old son, Camilo, to the south of Chile where they move into an old house. In the intimacy of this small shared space, surrounded by nature and solitude, their relationship evolves.

National Competition

Golden Leopard for the Best Swiss Short Film – Premio Swiss Life
THE BRIDGE OVER THE RIVER (DIE BRÜCKE ÜBER DEN FLUSS) by Jadwiga Kowalska, Switzerland
A man on a bridge, separated from the love of his life. Wanting to be with her one last time, he decides to go and seek her in the hereafter.

GENESIS by Lucien Monot, Switzerland. 2016 Locarno Film Festival
GENESIS by Lucien Monot, Switzerland. 2016 Locarno Film Festival

Silver Leopard Swiss Life for the National Competition
GENESIS by Lucien Monot, Switzerland
To escape his rather monotonous daily routine, Daniel, 63 years old, has found an activity that gives him a sense of existence: working as an extra.

Best Swiss Newcomer Award
LA SÈVE by Manon Goupil, Switzerland
Lena, 12 years old, lives alone with her mother in an old, remote house in the countryside. Her refuge is a tree from which she observes her elder sister Marie, and Eloi, her future husband, who have come for a family weekend. Gradually, Lena becomes fascinated by Eloi and tries to take him with her onto her tree.

Audience Award UBS
I, DANIEL BLAKE by Ken Loach, United Kingdom/France/Belgium
Daniel Blake, 59 years old, has worked as a joiner most of his life in Newcastle. Having fallen ill with heart disease, he needs help from the state and applies for the out-of-work sickness benefit Employment and Support Allowance. While he endeavors to overcome the struggles involved in getting assistance, he crosses paths with the single mother Katie and her two young children, Daisy and Dylan, who, in order to escape a homeless persons’ hostel in London, must take up residence in an apartment 480 kilometers away. Daniel and Katie find themselves in no man’s land, caught on the barbed wire of welfare bureaucracy.

Variety Piazza Grande Award
MOKA by Frédéric Mermoud, France/Switzerland
In Lausanne, Diane Kramer is led by only one obsession: to find the driver of the mocha-colored Mercedes which hit her son and devastated her life. With a few belongings and some money, she goes to Évian where she has learned that the driver lives. But sometimes, the path of revenge is more complicated than expected, and Diane will have to face another woman who is as friendly as she is mysterious.

The 70th Locarno Film Festival will take place from August2 to 12, 2017.

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