American actor Matt Dillon, whose career has ranged from gritty independent cinema with Gus Van Sant’s Drugstore Cowboy (1989) through the blockbuster comedy of the Farrelly brothers’ There’s Something About Mary (1998) to the European auteur cinema of Lars von Trier’s The House That Jack Built (2018) and Yorgos Lanthimos’ Nimic (2019), will be honored with the lifetime achievement award at the 2022 Locarno International Film Festival.

Dillon will receive his award in Locarno on August 4. The festival will pay tribute to the versatile actor with a screening of Drugstore Cowboy and City of Ghosts, Dillon’s 2002 directorial debut. Dillon will also participate in a Q&A with the Locarno audience on Friday, August 5.

Since his film debut, aged 14, in Jonathan Kaplan’s cult classic Over the Edge (1979), Dillon has carved out a unique career moving seamlessly between the indie cinema of Gus Van Sant and Francis Ford Coppola (1983’s The Outsiders and Rumble Fish) to mainstream romcoms including Cameron Crowe’s Singles (1992) and Anthony Minghella’s Mr. Wonderful (1993), to more avant-garde fare from von Trier, Lanthimos or Norwegian director Bent Hamer (2005’s Factotum).

On the small screen, Dillon starred in Chad Hodge’s Fox drama Wayward Pines and will next be seen opposite Patricia Arquette in Jay Roach’s upcoming AppleTV+ show High Desert.

Behind the camera, Dillon followed his directorial debut City of Ghosts — a thriller he co-wrote with Barry Gifford and stars in, alongside James Caan, Natascha McElhone, and Gérard Depardieu — with the 2020 documentary El Gran Fellove about legendary Cuban scat musician Francisco Fellove.

“Matt Dillon embodies with supreme freedom an idea of the American artist and cinema that we deeply love: the restlessness of youth and the freedom of maturity,” said Locarno artistic director Giona A. Nazzaro. “[He’s] a performer who has built lasting, transgenerational success without ever shying away from exploring new challenges and languages. An astounding actor and director, Dillon represents the best of an idea of American cinema born in the 1970s while celebrating the courage of unconventional choices.”

Previous winners of Locarno’s lifetime achievement award, first established in 2011, include Harrison Ford (2011), Jacqueline Bisset (2013), Harvey Keitel (2016) and Dario Argento (2021).

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