Legendary political director Costa-Gavras (Z, Missing) will receive this year’s lifetime achievement award from the Locarno International Film Festival.
The Greek filmmaker, who has been making social-activist cinema for nearly 60 years, will be honored at the 75th edition of the Swiss festival on Aug. 11.
Locarno will also screen two of Costa-Gavras’ early works, that are now rarely seen: Shock Troops from 1967 and The Sleeping Car Murders (1965).
Costa-Gavras is perhaps best known for his political thrillers Z (1969), a look at the Greek military coup of 1967, which won the best international feature Oscar in 1970 as well as the Oscar for best editing for Françoise Bonnot, and for Missing (1982), a dramatization of the CIA’s involvement in the coup d’état in Chile in 1973, which starred Jack Lemmon and Sissy Spacek and which was nominated for four Oscars, winning best-adapted screenplay honors for Costa-Gavras and co-writer Donald E. Stewart. His most recent feature, Adults in the Room, which premiered at the 2019 Venice Film Festival, looked at how the European Union forced a brutal austerity program on Greece after the financial collapse of 2008/2009.
Giona A. Nazzaro, the artistic director of the Locarno Film Festival, called Costa-Gavras “the cineaste who has investigated most extensively the history of the 20th century, without ever being blinded by ideologies. Although regarded as a ‘political filmmaker,’ Costa-Gavras is first and foremost a remarkable auteur, gifted with an extraordinary sense of form and style. Never one to wallow in self-referential mannerisms, he has tirelessly renewed his own gaze and approach. Costa-Gavras is the embodiment of a truly noble idea of cinema as a tool for progress and knowledge, a filmmaker who has never given up the conversation with his audience, always offering his candid version of amusement value and entertainment.”
Costa-Gavras will also take part in a panel discussion in Locarno on Aug. 12.