Singapore film about modern slavery and love wins at Locarno Film Festival

By On August 11, 2018

Singapore film about modern slavery and love wins at Locarno Film Festival

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Asia

Singapore film about modern slavery and love wins at Locarno Film Festival

A Land Imagined, a thriller by Yeo Siew Hua of Singapore, has won the top prize at the Locarno Film Festival. The film contrasts Southeast Asia's rich hub with the exploitation of impoverished migrant workers.

Filmmaker Yeo Siew Hua and actress Luna Kwok with the Golden Leopard for best film

A thriller/love story about modern slavery and a migrant Chinese construction worker who vanishes in Singapore has won the Golden Leopard ("Pardo d'oro") for best film at the Locarno Film Festival in the Italian-speaking Swiss resort popular for its outdoor screenings.

Director Yeo Siew Hua (top photo, right) said he had set himself the complicated cinematic task of showcasing the "people I needed to represent in Singapore" by depicting "their dreams, their fears, their love, their pains and their joy."

A Land Imagined â€" financed by producers from Singapore, France and the Netherlands â€" was chosen from among 15 international entries at Locarno's 71st contest by a five-member jury chaired by Chinese director Jia Zhang-Ke.

Filmmaking in Southeast Asia was "still very young," Yeo said, adding that he had been inspired by the "great masters from Taiwanese cinema's new wave."

The public prize, awarded outside the main contest and screened on Locarno's Piazza Grande, went to BlacKkKlansman, an anti-racism satire directed by Spike Lee that was previously a hit at Cannes.

'Wisdom of children'

Locarno's Leopard for best direction went to Dominga Sotomayor for Tarde para morir joven, (Too Late to Die Young), her feature film set in 1999 about a small community trying to live in a utopian world after Chile's dictatorship.

"I wanted to explore the complex relationships between g enerations and classes," Sotomayor said, "to capture the wisdom of children, the clumsiness of adults, the strange melancholy we grew up with."

The award for best actress went to Romania's Andra Guti for her depiction of a rebel teenager in the adolescence drama Alice T., directed by Radu Muntean.

The award for best actor went to Ki Joobong as an ageing poet in the South Korean film Gangbyun Hotel (Hotel by the River).

  • crowd outdoors watching film on Piazza Grande in Locarno. (picture-alliance/dpa/Keystone/U. Flueeler)

    The lure of the Locarno Film Festival

    The Piazza Grande

    The film screenings on Piazza Grande are one of Locarno's attractions. Against this spectacular historical backdrop, 17 films will be sh own on the world's largest screen. Nine of them are competing for the coveted audience award. Films will also be vying for the Piazza Grande Award given by Variety, the renowned US film magazine, as well as the Swatch First Feature Award.

  • Filmstill Les Beaux Esprits: a man and two boys hold a press conference (picture-alliance/dpa/Locarno Filmfestival)

    The lure of the Locarno Film Festival

    A comedy starts off the festival

    Les Beaux Esprits, a feature film by French director Vianney Lebasque, is based on a true story: a few mentally impaired athletes drop out of a French basketball team, and the coach fears losing a grant for his team. He decides on a scam - and travels to the Sydney Paralympics with a team of healthy players pretending to be mentally di sabled.

  • Filmstill from Liberty: two men on a skyscraper try not to fall (picture alliance/dpa/Collection Cinematheque suisse)

    The lure of the Locarno Film Festival

    Leo McCarey retrospective

    Already successful, the American director, screenwriter and producer came up with the idea of Stan Laurel (r.) and Oliver Hardy as a comedy duo in 1926. Leo McCarey (1898-1969) had an unprecedented Hollywood career. The 1929 film "Liberty" (above) is just one of 109 films shown at the McCarey retrospective in Locarno.

  • Fi   lm still from Wintermärchen: actors Lars Eidinger, Jean-Luc Bubert, Ricarda Seifried and Thomas Schubert stand in a circle (picture alliance/dpa/Heimatfilm)

    The lure of the Locarno Film Festival

    'A Winter's Tale'

    Seeking nationwide attention, a trio of right-wing terrorists carries out a series of brutal attacks in this film by German director Jan Bonny. A Winter's Tale is disturbingly topical in light of the recent trial of the NSU neo-Nazi gang in Germany. The film is not only about right-wing extremism however. As it says in the press release: "Love turns into hate, desire into murder."

  • Film still from 'What doesn't kill us'. a man sitting on a couch (ZDF/Mathias Bothor)

    The lure of the Locarno Film Festival

    'What doesn't kill us'

    A psychotherapist and divorced father, Maximilian worries about his patients, his daughters, his ex-wife and his melancholy dog. Max's predictable world is shaken when he meets Sophie, a foley artist. Sandra Nettelbeck'a tragicomedy tells the story of a man facing a midlife crisis.

  • Film still All good: a man and a woman hug. (Trimaphilm, Goetze Trauer)

    The lure of the Locarno Film Festival

    'All Good'

    Nothing is good in Eva Trobisch's film "All good," a movie about rape and its impact. Trobisch and her team of actors, above all leading actress Aenne Schwarz (l.), tread carefully with this sensitive topic. For this film, Schwarz won the new talent award for best actress, and Trobisch won the new talent award for best dir ector at the 2018 Munich Film Festival.

  • Scene from When Harry met Sally: a woman and man sit at a table eating (picture-alliance/dpa)

    The lure of the Locarno Film Festival

    Special awards for Meg Ryan, Ethan Hawke

    Flashes of subtle irony and witty humor in dreamy, innocent characters: The Locarno Film Festival gives the Leopard Club Award in tribute to American actress Meg Ryan, known the world over for romantic comedies including the "When Harry met Sally" from 1989 (above). American actor Ethan Hawke receives the Excellence Award and presents his new film ,"Blaze", in Locarno.

  • The lure of the Locarno Film Festival

    Farewell to Carlo Chatrian

    This year's festival, which gives visitors the opportunity to enjoy open air movies on the Piazza Grande square from August 1 to 11, is the last one at Locarno for artistic director Carlo Chatrian. In 2019 he takes over the management of the renowned Berlin Film Festival along with Mariette Rissenbeek.

    Author: Philipp Jedicke (db)


The Special Jury Prize went to director Yolande Zauberman of France for her documentary film M, which examines child abuse in an ultra-Orthodox community in Israel.

The jury's Special Mention went to Ray & Liz by British director Richard Billingham about childhood neglect in a suburb of Birmingham.

More praise for Germany's Trobisch

Locarno's priz e for the best debut film went to Alles ist Gut (All Good), a story about a young woman in an existential crisis by the German author and director Eva Trobisch, who also scored at the 2018 Munich Film Festival as best new talent director.

"It is truly a good feeling when the topic that drives and interests you also appears to interest and motivate others," Trobisch said in Locarno.

Locarno's Artistic Director Carlo Chatrian, who has directed the Swiss film festival since 2013, is set to become one of two co-chiefs of the Berlinale film festival in 2020, alongside German film promotion director Mariette Rissenbeek.

ipj/cmk (dpa, APF)

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  • Date 12.08.2018
  • Related Subjects Locarno Film Festival, Locarno International Film Festival
  • Keywords film, cinema, BlacKkKlansman, modern slavery, Singapore, Locarno Film Festival
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