Costa-Gavras has been one of the most prominent practitioners of political cinema for decades now. The recipient of prestigious accolades such as Academy Awards as well as the coveted Palme d’Or at Cannes, the Greek-French auteur is going to receive the lifetime honour at this year’s edition of the Locarno Film Festival.
Born in Arcadia, Costa-Gavras eventually moved to France where he started out by studying literature but eventually gravitated towards cinema. After finishing film school, he worked as an apprentice for several notable filmmakers such as René Clair and René Clément while also being influenced by the French New Wave.
“It was so exciting to see and analyse movies,” the auteur revealed in an interview, while recalling how the New Wave sensibilities in the country washed over him during his formative years. “Coming from a different culture, it was impossible for me to make movies like the French directors – interiorised and intimate.”
In a statement released by the artistic director of the festival – Giona A. Nazzaro, the organisers praised the aging director by referring to him as “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.”
Adding, “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.”