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Michel Piccoli, Japanese Drama 'The Rebirth': Locarno Film Festival Winners

Michel Piccoli, Japanese drama 'Rebirth': 2007 Locarno Film Festival winners

The Best Film at the 60th Locarno Film Festival, which came to a close this past Saturday, August 11, 2007, was Masahiro Kobayashi's Golden Leopard-winning The Rebirth / Ai No Yokan, a stark drama with little dialogue that, as per Variety's Derek Elley, had viewers “streaming out during its public screening.” (Elley takes a rather negative view of the “arty” Locarno Film Festival; a more “balanced” view written by Gino Buscaglia can be found at Swissinfo.)

Veteran Michel Piccoli takes home two awards

Locarno's Best Actor Silver Leopard was shared by Michele Venitucci, who plays a boxer in Fulvio Bernasconi's Fuori dalle corde (the English translation would be something like “Outside the Ring”), and veteran Michel Piccoli for his portrayal of a lonely old man in the throes of death in Hiner Saleem's Beneath the Rooftops of Paris / Sous les toits de Paris. Mylène Demongeot co-stars with Piccoli in Beneath the Rooftops of Paris, which, needless to say, is not a remake of René Clair's light-hearted 1930 musical Under the Roofs of Paris, starring Albert Préjean, nor a film version of Henry Miller's erotic novel of the same name.

Also at Locarno, Michel Piccoli took home the Excellence Award for his long film career. Former Pedro Almodóvar muse Carmen MauraLaw of Desire, Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown, and recently seen in the director's Volver – was the festival's other Excellence Award recipient, while Hou Hsiao-hsien was given the Leopard of Honor.

More Locarno Film Festival winners

The 2007 Locarno Film Festival's Special Jury Prize, “for a work that promotes understanding between peoples and cultures,” went to Memories, which consists of three digital video shorts commissioned by South Korea's Jeonju Digital Project. Pedro Costa, Harun Farockis, and Eugène Green were the directors.

Philippe Ramos won the Best Director trophy for Captain Achab, a reinterpretation of Herman Melville's Moby Dick. The film also won the FIPRESCI Award from the International Federation of Film Critics.

And finally, Marián Álvarez was chosen as Locarno's Best Actress for her role in Roser Aguilar's romantic drama The Best of Me / Lo Mejor de mí, while Frank Oz's black comedy Death at a Funeral, starring Matthew Macfadyen and Keeley Hawes, received the Audience Award for Best Film.

The 2007 Locarno Film Festival international competition jury was headed by Irène Jacob (Red, Othello). Nineteen films were in competition for the Golden Leopard.

Mylène Demongeot and Michel Piccoli in Beneath the Rooftops of Paris photo: Agat Films & Cie.

'Hallam Foe'

The 2007 edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival kicked off last night with the UK premiere of David Mackenzies Hallam Foe, starring Jamie Bell and Sophia Myles. The romantic drama had previously been screened at the Berlin Film Festival.

Shot on location in Scotland, Hallam Foe was adapted from Peter Jinkss novel. In the film, Bell plays a young man who, besides being a sort of peeping tom, happens to suspect that his stepmother may have had a hand in the mysterious death of his mother. After moving to Edinburgh, he discovers love in the form of Sophia Myles. Also in the cast are Ewen Bremner and Ciaran Hinds.

The Edinburgh International Film Festival, which will screen about 120 features from 31 countries, will come to a close on Aug. 26.


         
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