Two Argentinean Films Take Top Prizes at Locarno

Eduardo Williams

Eduardo Williams

Two Argentinean films were among the winners of the 69th edition of the Locarno Film Festival, which were unveiled today. El auge del humano / The Human Surge by Eduardo Williams was the winner of Golden Leopard in the Cineasti del Presente (Filmmakers of Today) section, and received a Special Mention in the First Feature competition, while El futuro perfecto / The Future Perfect by Nele Wohlatz was the winner of the Best First Film Award. 

William's debut feature The Human Surge follows Exe a 25-year-old man who has just lost his job and is not looking for another one. His neighbors and friends seem as odd to him as they always do. Online, he meets Alf, a boy from Mozambique who is also bored with his job and who is about to follow Archie, another boy who has run away into the jungle.

Through the dense vegetation of the forest, Archie tracks ants back to their nest. One of them wanders off course and comes across Canh, a Filipino, sitting on top of a giant heap of earth and who is about to go back to his strange, beautiful home town, where he too has a miserable job.

In The Future Perfect by German-born director Wohlatz, Xiaobin is 17 years old and does not speak a single word of Spanish when she arrives in Argentina. But a few days later, she already has a new name, Beatriz, and a job in a Chinese supermarket. Her family lives in a parallel world in a launderette, far removed from the Argentinians. Xiaobin secretly saves money and enrols at a language school. She tries out in the street what she learns there.

After having learned how to “make appointments”, she arranges to meet a supermarket customer, Vijay. He comes from India, and although they can barely communicate with each other, they start a secret relationship. And when she practices the condicional, the form of possibility, Xiaobin starts thinking about the future. What would happen if her parents learned about Vijay? The more she masters the Spanish language, the more she interferes in the scenario.

Nele Wohlatz

Nele Wohlatz

The Golden Leopard in the Cineasti del Presente comes with a cash prize of the equivalent to $41,000 USD, while the First Feature Award has a cash prize of $15,000 USD. The Bolivian film Viejo Calavera, the debut feature by Kiro Russo also received a Special Jury Mention in the Cineasti del Presente competition.

In the Pardi di Domani short film competition, the Chilean film Non Castus by Andrea Castillo received a Special Mention, and Paris-based Colombian director Camilo Restrepo was awarded the Pardino d’argento SRG SSR for the International Competition for his short film Cilaos with a cash prize of approximately $5,000 USD.

As it was previously announced the Chilean cult filmmaker Alejandro Jodorowsky received the Honorary Leopard Lifetime Achievement Award. He showed his most recent film Poesía sin fin / Endless Poetry at a special outdoor screening at the Piazza Grande.

The 69th edition of the Locarno Film Festival took place August 3-13 in Switzerland.