By Steve Greene | Criticwire August 21, 2013 at 12:05PM
It's not very often that one of our end-of-festival polls prominently features a film that will be released in theaters within that week. (In fact, it's never happened before.)
"Short Term 12" is set to open in New York and LA on Friday, but it was audiences in Switzerland that were singing the film's praises over the past few days. When we asked critics at the Locarno International Film Festival to single out some of their favorite films and performances from the fest, Destin Cretton's sophomore feature was a top vote-getter in all categories. Brie Larson, who plays Grace, one of the main staff members at the titular specialized care facility, appeared on the most overall ballots. (Her near-unanimous selection as one of the festival's best performance comes just days after winning the Locarno's Best Actress Palmare.) Cretton finished atop the Best Director category and John Gallagher, Jr. did the same among the Best Supporting Performance picks.
Berlinale favorite "Gloria" also continued its successful festival run, earning mentions for director Sebastian Lelio and cast members Paulina Garcia and Sergio Hernandez. The increasingly prolific Korean director Hong Sang-soo also drew some acclaim for his latest effort, "Our Sunhi," which follows a young woman who encounters important figures from her past on her way to post-graduate work in the US.
But perhaps the most notable Locarno debut this year was Joaquim Pinto's "What Now? Remind Me," an autobiographical look at a year in the life of an AIDS and Hepatitis C survivor. Indiewire's Eric Kohn explains that the film "drifts from moments of abstract observations and reminiscences with the ease of a Chris Marker diary film, the closest precedent for Pinto's self-reflexive approach." With a slew of fall festivals just beyond the horizon, Locarno won't be the only place to showcase Pinto's story.
For the rest of the notable films from the 2013 Locarno slate, here's a sampling of the overall results from our poll:
1. Destin Cretton, Short Term 12
2. Joanna Hogg, Exhibtion
3. Joaquim Pinto, What Now? Remind Me
4. Hong Sang-soo, Our Sunhi
5. Sebastian Lelio, Gloria
BEST LEAD PERFORMANCE
1. Brie Larson, Short Term 12
2. Paulina Garcia, Gloria
3. Carla Juri, Wetlands
4. Viv Albertine, Exhibition
5. Vincenç Altaió, Story of My Death
6. Fernando Bacilio, El Mudo
BEST SUPPORTING PERFORMANCE
1. John Gallagher, Jr., Short Term 12
2. Sergio Hernandez, Gloria
3. Owen Williams, The Dirties
To see full ballots from everyone polled, see the next page.