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Locarno's Golden Leopard Has Chosen Portugal

Photo: Locarno Film Festival Massimo Pedrazzini

The 72nd Locarno Film Festival is over and the Golden Leopards distributed. After two consecutive years going long way to Asia, this year Pardo d'Oro decided (by the Jury) to stay in Europe with the Portuguese Vitalina Varela directed by Pedro Costa.

In his new movie Pedro Costa crosses another line with the sumptuousness of shading, the hieratic postures, the irradiating anger of tragic chanting and the stunning beauty of insert shots. Vitalina Varela tells a story of a 55 year old woman from Cape Verde who arrives in Lisbon three days after her husband’s funeral. She’s been waiting for her plane ticket for more than 25 years. But all she can do now is settle her husband’s affairs.

Pedro Costa has already won the Leopard for Best Direction in 2014 for Cavalho Dinheiro (Horse Money) where the audience has encountered the first appearance of Vitalina Varela in the hospital and listened to her sad story. But in Vitalina Varela the director tells the story in a reversed casting and the critics call it "one of his most beautiful, simplest and darkest" movies.

The actress playing the main character carries the same name as the film title and her performance received the highest form of festival recognition - Leopard for Best Actress. Meanwhile the prize for Best Actor was awarded to Regis Myrupu for The Fever directed by Maya Da-Rin.

Locarno 72 Leopard for Best Direction went to Damien Manivel for Les Enfants D’Isadora (Isadora's Children), meanwhile the Special Jury Prize - to South Korean film called Pa-Go (Height of the Wave) by Park Jung-bum.

A still from "Camille"

The audience of the Grand Piazza had an opportunity to vote for UBS Public Prize. Taking into account the record participation in the screening of a new Quentin Tarantino's masterpiece Once Upon A Time... In Hollywood when the tickets were already sold out two days in advance, it's a bit shocking that the audience gave their preference to Camille by French director Boris Lojkine. The film tells a story of Camille, a young idealistic photojournalist who goes to the Central African Republic to cover the civil war that is brewing up. What she sees there will change her destiny forever.

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