x Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 26 July 2017

Swiss town becomes world's cinema capital every August

The Locarno Film Festival is among the most discreet – and most glamorous – in the world.

The Locarno Film Festival is perhaps the world's most discreet, but also among the most glamorous, held in a small Swiss town every summer on the shores of Lake Maggiore.

Beginning yesterday and running until August 11, the 65th festival is welcoming such celebrities as the singers Kylie Minogue and Harry Belafonte, and the screen stars Ornella Muti, Charlotte Rampling and Alain Delon, who will rub shoulders with the public in the Piazza Grande.

This immense square in the centre of Locarno, bordered by historic palaces and arcades, nightly becomes a vast open-air cinema with a giant screen, where almost 8,000 people can watch a film after dark.

The event, which has found its annual slot between Cannes in May and Venice in late August, will present about 300 films. The large number is due to extensive tributes paid to actors such as Delon, as well as this year's retrospective, which is devoted to the Austrian-born director Otto Preminger.

Vying in the international competition for the prized Golden Leopard are 19 films, 13 of which are world premières.

Highlights include Magic Mike by Steven Soderbergh, with Channing Tatum and Matthew McConaughey, Bachelorette by Leslye Headland, with Kirsten Dunst, No by Pablo Larain, with Gael García Bernal, and Ruby Sparks by Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris, with Antonio Banderas and Annette Bening.

This year's jury will be headed by the Thai director Apichatpong Weerasethakul, who won the Palme d'Or in Cannes in 2010 for his film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall his Past Lives. * AFP