The Italian director’s new film, produced by Luca Guadagnino and coming to Netflix on August 13, will inaugurate the starry nights of Locarno74 on August 4
The night of Laetitia Casta in Piazza Grande will also belong to John David Washington, Boyd Holbrook, Vicky Krieps and Alicia Vikander on the big screen. They’re part of the images of Beckett by Ferdinando Cito Filomarino, the feature that will mark the first of eleven starry nights at Locarno74 after the French actress’s acceptance of the Excellence Award Davide Campari. The opening ceremony will be followed by the world premiere of Cito Filomarino’s film, produced by Luca Guadagnino, which will bring thriller vibes to the Piazza.
Artistic Director Giona A. Nazzaro: “There’s a piece of Locarno in the success story of Ferdinando Cito Filomarino. From the Pardi di domani to the Piazza Grande. The Locarno Film Festival as an incubator for talent, a training ground and finally as a launch pad for the most exciting filmmakers of the future. Beckett is a thriller that gives an original and contemporary reboot to the lessons learned from directors such as Sydney Pollack and Alan J. Pakula. An action film with a humanist dimension and intense civil engagement, here underpinned by a magisterial performance from John David Washington. Political commitment and great entertainment are the two main ingredients for a Piazza Grande that aims to surprise audiences and reassert the centrality of film in all its forms.”
One of the largest and most prestigious open-air screens in the world will play host to the cast of Beckett, including Academy Award winner Alicia Vikander, as the Piazza Grande audience will be immersed in a story about vacations in Greece and car accidents, escapes and manhunts, embassies and conspiracies. These thriller threads will bring the Italian filmmaker back to Locarno, where he previously took part in the Pardi di domani section in 2011 with Diarchia, and they also won over Netflix, who will unveil Beckett on their platform on August 13. This path from the Piazza to a streaming service is part of the trajectories of the film industry where Locarno intends to be a key player, imagining and crafting a future where the Festival, streaming platforms and movie theaters will be partners, rather than rivals.
Beckett, like all Piazza Grande films – with the exception of short films and films in the Histoire(s) du cinéma and Retrospettiva sections –, will participate in the Prix du public UBS 2021, the Locarno Film Festival prize awarded by the largest jury imaginable. Since 1994, it is the Festival’s audience that chooses the winning title: the thousands of spectators on the Piazza who, every evening, can vote for their favorite film thanks to the official Festival App (available for download from mid-July). Among the winners of the past editions, which has since 2000 supported by UBS, are: Smoke by Wayne Wang, Death at a Funeral by Frank Oz, I, Daniel Blake by Ken Loach and BlaKkKlansman by Spike Lee.
The first official still from Alicia’s upcoming thriller ‘Beckett‘ has been released! Entertainment Weekly shared the exclusive first look yesterday, along with an interview with the film’s director Cito Filomarino. You can find the still featuring Alicia in our gallery!
Beckett will premiere on Netflix on August 13, and its official plot reads: Following a tragic car accident in Greece, Beckett, an American tourist, finds himself at the center of a dangerous political conspiracy and on the run for his life.
EW | Not every vacation is rejuvenating. In Ferdinando Cito Filomarino’s paranoid thriller Beckett, John David Washington takes an international trip that’s anything but relaxing. The Tenet star plays Beckett, an American tourist exploring Greece with his girlfriend April (Alicia Vikander), when he stumbles upon a kidnapping. His inadvertent discovery makes him the target of a nationwide manhunt, as he struggles to outmaneuver assassins and trek from rural wilderness to the U.S. embassy in Athens.
“A manhunt thriller is a road-trip movie, in a way,” Cito Filomarino says. “It was interesting to embrace the variety of Greece’s topography, like, what can we throw at Beckett next? Mountains, rivers, buses, trains…”
The man-on-the-run adventure has been a longtime staple of cinema, and Cito Filomarino drew inspiration for Beckett’s journey from classics like The Parallax View and Three Days of the Condor. But he also wanted to explore the emotional toll of the journey, emphasizing just how unprepared Beckett is and leaving room for quieter, more introspective moments. (Fortunately for Beckett, he does find an ally in a political activist named Lena, played by Phantom Thread’s Vicky Krieps.)
“It’s not so much an all-seeing narration or a grand chess game with many players,” Cito Filomarino explains. “[It’s] more of a dramatic experience of a man who, for all intents and purposes, is not supposed to be in a thriller.”
“He doesn’t have all the answers,” Washington adds of his beleaguered protagonist. “He doesn’t have an ex-Marine background; he doesn’t have all these abnormal sensibilities and strengths that exceed the normal man.”
And although Beckett may be ordinary, playing him still required Washington to perform a few extraordinary feats, from scrambling up cliffs in the Grecian countryside to navigating an explosive rally scene in the Athenian streets. “The irony is that he’s a very common dude and is not very athletic,” Washington admits with a laugh. “It was as taxing as if the guy had to karate-chop and snap necks.”
“He definitely lost some weight in the process of making this movie because he was running so much,” Cito Filomarino adds.