Starting today, distinguished names in global cinema will descend upon the picturesque lakeside town of Locarno in southern Switzerland, for an eleven-day celebration of international film and cross-border cultural collaboration. Granted, levels of anticipation surrounding the event may not equal those surrounding Venice, the world's oldest film festival that takes place later this month, but it's worth remembering that a number of world-famous directors had their international debut at Locarno - the likes of Abbas Kiarostami, Spike Lee and Jim Jarmusch.
And the 72nd edition of the annual Swiss film festival promises to be truly international affair, with submissions from across Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and the US. The Arab world is well represented, with cinematic contributions hailing from the Levant to North Africa, and insightful new works spanning documentary, shorts, comedy and thrillers. Don't miss Syrian director Maya Khoury's new feature film, During Revolution, which stands as a strong contender in the International Competition category, or Egyptian director Basim Magdy's latest short film, which will be screened in Locarno's prestigious Piazza Grande. Here are a few more that you should definitely be looking out for...
Companions of the Cave
Tunisian photographer and videographer-turned-director Fakhri El Ghezal's short film follows the journey of rappers Jojo M and Galaaa and of the director himself, from their native Tunisia to France. It explores the common challenges of migration, through a nostalgic and almost poetic lens.
Still from Companions of the Cave
This dystopic, sci-fi-esque short film from Palestinian director Larissa Sansour and Danish director Søren Lind follows two scientists living in an underground compound in the aftermath of an environmental disaster. Set in an alternate reality that somehow feels chillingly close to our own, the film highlights the stories of several generations of Palestinian women and the ways in which they cope with nostalgia and trauma, whilst employing striking and original cinematic techniques.
Still from In Vitro
Baghdad In My Shadow
This picture from prolific Iraqi-Swiss director Samir follows the lives of the Iraqi diaspora in London, examining their varying perspectives on Iraqi identity, until the characters are suddenly drawn together by a radical turn of events.
Still from Baghdad In My Shadow
143 Sahara Street
Algerian director Hassen Ferhani's absurdist-style documentary centres around the manager of a modest kiosk in the heart of the Sahara - Malika. The film takes us through the sometimes humorous, sometimes unexpected, sometimes touching encounters with her various clients, and follows her ultimate pursuit of peace in her small corner of the desert.
Still from 143 Sahara Street