Jessica Hausner Set as Locarno Film Festival Jury President

Austrian filmmaker Jessica Hausner will serve as jury president of the international competition section at the 77th Locarno Film Festival this August, overseeing the jury that will decide the winner of the Pardo d’Oro, or Golden Leopard.

The festival will run Aug. 7-17. Its lineup will be announced on July 10.

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“A vital and restless filmmaker, Jessica Hausner has created a diverse body of work reflecting the most hidden aspects of contemporary society with extraordinary depth. With clarity, steadfastness, and impeccable progression, she has imagined both spiritual and fantastical worlds that reflect the cogent richness of a complex and contradictory human experience,” said Giona A. Nazzaro, Locarno’s artistic director. “To have Jessica Hausner as jury president of the Locarno Film Festival’s Concorso Internazionale is an extraordinary honor and a guarantee that the films will be discussed by a jury led by one of the most extraordinary filmmakers working today.”

“It’s a great honor and also a great pleasure for me to preside over the main jury,” Hausner said, in response.

“The responsibility I feel is to respectfully hear the various opinions of my fellow jury members, as I truly believe that every person sees a different film and that every perspective is interesting to discuss.”

The “Lourdes” director is no stranger to A-list events. Recently, she was rewarded at Cannes for her English-language debut “Little Joe,” while “Club Zero,” starring Mia Wasikowska, became one of the most controversial – and hotly debated – films at last year’s French fest.

In his review, Variety’s Owen Gleiberman called it “audaciously disturbing.”

“Yes, I used the words ‘eating disorder’ and ‘thriller’ in the same sentence – that’s the kind of boundary-smashing movie this is. […] ‘Club Zero’ won’t be for everyone, but Hausner, channeling some combination of Hitchcock and Cronenberg and ‘Village of the Damned’ and the Todd Haynes of ‘Superstar: The Karen Carpenter Story,’ has now made an even more gripping and provocative mind-fuck.”

Back in 1997, she also took the main prize in Locarno’s own section Pardi di Domani for her short “Flora.”

“For me, Locarno is a festival that values artistic and original approaches in filmmaking and thus reinforces the avant-garde of world cinema. I am happy to contribute to this agenda because filmmaking is, in my opinion, about challenging our perspectives and finding new and unusual ways to look at things,” she noted.

Hausner also co-founded production company coop99 alongside Barbara Albert, Antonin Svoboda and Martin Gschlacht, which has produced Maren Ade’s “Toni Erdmann” and Jasmila Žbanić’s “Quo Vadis, Aida?”

Meanwhile, the Swiss event also confirmed screenings of two freshly restored classics: “Samba Traoré” by Idrissa Ouédraogo – awarded Berlinale Silver Bear – and “Faces of Love” (“Repérages”) by Michel Soutter with Delphine Seyrig and Jean-Louis Trintignant.

They will be shown as part of the Histoire(s) du Cinéma section.

While “Samba Traoré” is being restored in collaboration with Waka Films and Zurich and Berlin-based film lab Cinegrell, Cinémathèque suisse is focusing on “Faces of Love,” it was revealed during Cannes’ panel “Reviving the Classics: Restoring and Releasing Cinematic Heritage in Switzerland and Beyond” earlier today. This year, Switzerland is the country of honor at the Marché du Film.

Last year, 1954’s “Mulher de Verdade” by Alberto Cavalcanti was singled out thanks to the launch of the Heritage Restoration Contest – an open call for applications for international classic and library films in need of complete or partial restoration. The restoration process by Cinegrell is currently “in full swing,” it was stated, and the restored version of the film will also premiere at the fest.

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