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Locarno: A Journey in the Festival's History

MUBI is immensely proud to be partnering with the Locarno Film Festival to unveil a selection of 20 classic films from previous editions of the festival, all of them hand-picked by past alumni. Directors like Lucrecia Martel, Lav Diaz, Miguel Gomes, and many others have chosen individual films from the festival’s rich history. Diaz selected Michael Haneke’s haunting debut feature, The Seventh Continent, while Lisandro Alonso chose Glauber Rocha’s Entranced Earth, a hypnotizing masterpiece of the Brazilian Cinema Novo. Helena Wittmann selected Marguerite Duras’ opulent and avant-garde historical romance India Song, while master documentarian Wang Bing picked Pedro Costa’s Horse Money. Some of the films in this program have won prizes at Locarno or altered the vision of some of the world’s greatest filmmakers, whereas others have spawned entirely new cinematic movements. We hope you enjoy this deep dive into some of the most influential gems in Locarno’s history.


Edward Yang Taiwan, 1986

Renowned director Edward Yang (Yi Yi) refracts the changing society and culture of Taipei in this classic of New Taiwanese Cinema, which revitalized the nation’s cinematic landscape in the 1980s. An enigmatic puzzle full of Yang’s prescient vision, this is a film to watch again and again.

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Marguerite Duras France, 1975

Set in the colonialist homes of ‘30s India, renowned writer and filmmaker Marguerite Duras cast Delphine Seyrig as a diplomat’s wife haunted by imperialist guilt and the anguishing emptiness of opulence. Notably, the film eschews sync sound, advancing its narrative through various off-screen voices.


Pedro Costa Portugal, 2014

From Portugal’s greatest living filmmaker comes this dreamlike hallucination of a lost soul belonging to the country’s repressed, abused, misused and forgotten underclass. With his rivetingly poetic political cinema, Pedro Costa gives the unheard and unseen a voice and a true cinematic presence.


Glauber Rocha Brazil, 1967

Glauber Rocha’s visually electrifying and confrontational film is rightly hailed as a masterpiece of the Brazilian Cinema Novo movement. This is a fierce political fable that aims fire at governmental corruption and class divisions while capturing the stunning poetry of the landscape.


Pier Paolo Pasolini Italy, 1964

One of very few documentaries Pasolini ever made, this little-seen gem explores his country’s complex attitudes to sex and love. The Italian radical-atheist auteur covers themes like marriage, homosexuality, and prostitution with subversive curiosity and a typically sparkling sense of humor.


Chantal Akerman Belgium, 2015

In what would become Akerman’s final film, the great director returns home to visit her aging mother. Echoing the evocative portrait of female domesticity of her second feature, Jeanne Dielman, this masterpiece of intimacy is a profound reflection on family history and mother-daughter relations.


Hugo Santiago Argentina, 1969

Lost for years, then rediscovered in 2004, the history of Hugo Santiago’s debut and its magical genre fluidity (is it an avant-garde crime thriller, a political sci-fi?) are the stuff of legend. Co-written by Jorge Luis Borges, who said it “may well be the first example of a new fantastic genre.”


Kidlat Tahimik Philippines, 1977

In a surreal style entwining dream and documentary, Filipino actor-director Kidlat Tahimik’s debut creatively catches its disillusioned protagonist between the “First” and “Third” Worlds. A milestone film in post-colonial cinema, later championed stateside by Werner Herzog and Francis Ford Coppola.