For Giona A. Nazzaro, artistic director of the Locarno Festival, “programming is an act that is a matter of pleasure”

The Locarno International Film Festival (Switzerland), whose 76e edition takes place from Wednesday August 2 to Saturday August 12, is one of the most pioneering events, even in its competition, which is not content to line up the names of well-known filmmakers as if on a skewer. Appointed in 2020, following Lili Hinstin, its new artistic director, Giona A. Nazzaro, born in 1965, intends to promote this “laboratory” while continuing to celebrate mainstream cinema with outdoor screenings in the Piazza Grande. For the 2023 vintage, the Romanian Radu Jude, the French Quentin Dupieux and the Filipino Lav Diaz are among the seventeen directors who, with their films, compete for the Golden Leopard.

Read the results of the 2022 edition: Article reserved for our subscribers In Locarno, a prize list haunted by violence

How would you define your work as a programmer, and how do you design the competition?

Programming is an act that for me is fun. I have a little trouble programming strategically. And if my intuition were to deceive me, I’d rather have made a choice dictated by the love of a film rather than by opportunity. It allows me to sleep better.

What I want is for the competition to not be predictable or boring. Even the most identified authors of this edition – Lav Diaz, Radu Jude or Quentin Dupieux – offer films very different from their previous ones. Moreover, we must not refrain from laughing and we have selected two comedies: in addition to Yannickby Quentin Dupieux, Lousy Carterby American Bob Byington.

Read the review: Article reserved for our subscribers “Yannick”, by Quentin Dupieux, or the revolt of the jump seat

There is also this ambition to unearth new perspectives: I am thinking in particular of baanby the Portuguese Leonor Teles, and Patagonia, by the Italian Simone Bozzelli. Here are two films devoid of any nostalgia, including of a cinephile nature, which have a truly astonishing awareness of the image. In summary, there is the idea of ​​offering an invitation to travel, to engage in a conversation that is both political and based on pleasure, in the broadest sense – as a kind of almost erotic openness to possibilities. of the unknown.

Other major festivals, such as Cannes or Venice very recently, have created controversy by inviting actors or directors involved in cases of sexual assault – Luc Besson, Roman Polanski and Woody Allen are thus announced at the Mostra (from August 30 to September 9). What do you think ?

I believe in the presumption of innocence, but one should not underestimate what this type of advertisement projects outside, without speaking about the question of the victims. Moreover, they are often very established directors, who, for some, have written part of the history of cinema, and for others the history of the box office. This is not necessarily where the discovery is located. We have to choose a side, and it seems to me more important to move forward in defining a world that is more inclusive, post-binary, rather than reaffirming yesterday’s values. And that has nothing to do with whether such personality is guilty or not.

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