Locarno (dpa) – the magic of open-air cinema, one of the largest cinema screens in the world and cool cocktails to enjoy the film: with its performances under the stars, the international film festival in Locarno, Switzerland , offers something unique.

After the small online edition of the previous year, which only interested a specialized audience due to the pandemic, this year the festival is once again inviting the public to the shores of Lake Maggiore from August 4 to 14.

German film producers also show up there. In the main competition for the Golden Leopard, which features 17 films from around the world, four international co-productions with German participation are underway. The thriller “Zeros and Ones” by American star director Abel Ferrara (“Bad Lieutenant”) with Hollywood star Ethan Hawke (“Boyhood”) in the lead role is awaited with particular excitement.

Above all, Germany is proving to be a strong acting nation in the competition. German film celebrities appear in several films from other countries. Franz Rogowski (“Ondine”) plays one of the main roles in the Austrian feature film “Lucifer”, a drama about the exorcisation of the devil. Luna Wedler (“Auerhaus”) performs in the Swiss metropolitan ballad “Soul of a Beast”.

The main attraction of the festival will probably be the outdoor performances again this year. Typically, up to nine thousand moviegoers can be found in the picturesque Piazza Grande in Locarno. Due to Corona rules, the number of places has been reduced this year. In the piazza program, Julia Jäger (“Karniggels”) and Hannah Herzsprung (“Babylon Berlin”) appear two prominent German actresses in the costume film “Monte Verità” (Switzerland / Austria / Germany). Liv Lisa Fries (“Babylon Berlin”) stars in the Swiss history thriller “Hinterland”.

German-Iranian director Sabrina Sarabi, originally from Kassel, is a candidate for an award with her adaptation of Alina Herbing’s bestseller “Nobody is with the calves” in the young talent section “Cineasti del presente”. In the story of a young marriage, Saskia Rosendahl (“Work without an author”, “Fabian or the dog walk”) plays the main role.

German documentary “Stand Up My Beauty” by Heidi Specogna (“Cahier Africain”) has a chance to win in the famous “Critics’ Week”. The Swiss filmmaker, who lives in Berlin, accompanies an Ethiopian singer on her life and career path.

The Locarno Festival is considered to be one of the most important forums in the world for committed cinematographic art. The motto is “Here the movies are the stars!”. Young cinema dominates. After the resignation of French artist Lili Hinstin as artistic director, which only started in 2019, her successor Giona A. Nazzaro wishes to continue the tradition.

On the occasion of his election as artistic director of Locarno at the end of last year, the Italian, born in Zurich in 1966, told the dpa: “Culture will perhaps protect us a little from populism. . And that is why we must also support films, books, music and theater. “

In addition to the requirement, the former director of the Critics’ Week of the Venice Film Festival also offers a lot of commercial cinema. In the evening, in the square, there is also the power of the stars. For example, young Hollywood star John David Washington (“Tenet”), son of Oscar winner Denzel Washington (“Malcolm X”) is expected. The legend of director John Landis (“Blues Brothers”) has also announced that he will be there. He is honored by the festival for his life’s work.

This year’s festival edition features over 200 feature films, documentaries and short films. The 74th Locarno International Film Festival will open on August 4 with the Italian action thriller “Becket”. The film’s publicity promises a fine balance between audience efficiency and demand. While it is true, the opening film is an exact match for Locarno’s proven recipe for success.