Lucrecia Martel’s ‘Chocobar’ Among Locarno Festival Lineup of ‘Films After Tomorrow’ Works-in-Progress

New works by prominent auteurs Lucrecia Martel, Lav Diaz, Lisandro Alonso and Wang Bing grace the lineup of works-in-progress unveiled by the Locarno Film Festival.

The canceled Swiss fest dedicated to indie cinema on Thursday announced 20 titles that made the cut for its innovative The Films After Tomorrow initiative that will provide support to filmmakers forced to stop working due to the global pandemic. Of these, 10 are international and 10 from Switzerland. Prizes will be awarded by juries made up by still unspecified filmmakers on Aug. 15.

“Our role is to act as a link between films, the industry and audiences, and so (when Locarno was canceled due to coronavirus concerns) we looked at alternative ways of carrying out that mission, assessing where our intervention could be most useful at this time,” said Locarno artistic director Lili Hinstin at a Zoom presentation during the Cannes Virtual Market. A total of 545 projects from 101 countries were submitted, she said.

Lucrecia Martel, whose credits include “The Headless Woman” and “Zama,” will be competing for a Pardo 2020 prizes worth 70,000 Swiss francs ($72,000) with “Chocobar,” the Argentinian auteur’s first non-fiction film described by the fest’s synopsis as a “hybrid, creative documentary” about the murder of indigenous activist Javier Chocobar by a white landowner.

“After a decade of research, ‘Chocobar’ was at a key stage of production when it was interrupted” by the coronavirus crisis, according to Locarno press materials.

Lav Diaz is in the running with “When the Waves Are Gone,” his latest film, which has faced several obstacles that halted his shoot: “first, a volcanic eruption, and now, the coronavirus,” the Locarno statement said. “Regardless, the Filipino auteur is compelled to push forward with this tale of vengeance, as it asks urgent questions during a period of disarray the Philippines finds itself in.”

Wang Bing (“Dead Souls”) has made the cut with “I Come From Ikotun,” which looks at African migration to Guangzhou and the problematic process of integration faced by migrants who hope to provide a better future for their relatives in Nigeria. “Shooting of the documentary was under way on both continents before being brought to a halt by the lockdown,” Locarno said.

Lisandro Alonso, whose latest film is “Jauja” with Viggo Mortensen, and whose other works include “La Libertad,” “Los Muertos,” “Fantasma,” and “Liverpool” — all of which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival, is in the running with “Eureka,” which he was directing outside his native Argentina for the first time, with an ensemble of cast and crew from countries ranging from Finland to Spain, when COVID-19 hit the shooting of his western in Portugal. The film explores “the connections between the different cultures inhabiting a land through time,” according to the festival’s synopsis.

The other six international projects in Locarno’s The Films After Tomorrow lineup are:

“Cidade;Campo,” by Juliana Rojas (Brazil)
Juliana Rojas was ready to shoot “Cidade;Campo” on May 29 when COVID-19 added to the political turmoil in Brazil and forced her to postpone. Juliana’s new project established a parallel between two social and historical Brazilian way of life through strong female characters, creating an atmosphere on the edge of fantasy and reality.

“De Humani Corporis Fabrica” (The Fabric of the Human Body), by Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor (France/U.S.)
The lockdown in March broke off years of hard work by Verena Paravel and Lucien Castaing-Taylor, filmmakers, anthropologists and creators of “Leviathan,” which premiered at Locarno in 2012. Their new movie focuses on five hospitals in northern Paris neighborhoods, using the latest medical imaging technology to paint a triple portrait of the human body, the medical profession and the French capital.

“Human Flowers of Flesh,” by Helena Wittmann (Germany/France)
Following on from her “Drift,” which launched from the Venice fest’s Critics’ Week, Helena Wittmann’s second feature is set on the Mediterranean. The heroine navigates along the route of the French Foreign Legion from Marseille to Sidi-Bel-Abbes via Calvi on a contemporary odyssey that is at once political and sensuous.

“Nowhere Near,” by Miko Revereza (Philippines/Mexico/U.S.)
Having spent much of his life as an undocumented migrant in the U.S., artist-filmmaker Miko Revereza made his return to the Philippines last summer. Interrupted at an early stage in editing, his second feature film will shed a personal light on ideas of belonging as he traces his roots in a country marked by an uncertain future.

“Petite Solange” (Little Solange), by Axelle Ropert (France)
Axelle Ropert (“La prunell de mes jeux”) among other comedies was in the middle of shooting this emotionally ample study of a girl facing her parents’ divorce when filming was suspended. The situation is particularly urgent as her young star is at an age of rapid physical change.

“Selvajaria” (Savagery) by Miguel Gomes (Portugal/France/Brazil/China/Greece)
The imaginative gaze of filmmaker Miguel Gomes brings to the screen a fundamental text of Brazilian literature, “Rebellion in the Backlands,” Euclides da Cunha’s account of the 1897 war between Brazil’s army and the native inhabitants of Canudos. This epic movie faced major obstacles due to the complex political situation in Brazil, with a protracted pre-production phase that involves historical reconstruction of the village and close collaboration with the descendants of the Canudos. At present the production has been postponed due to the pandemic.

All synopses from Locarno press materials. For list of Swiss The Films After Tomorrow projects go to: www.locarnofestival.ch