Holly HunterNine Lives, the only American work in competition at Switzerland's Locarno festival (it's "the smallest of the big festivals," don't you know) was awarded the fest's top honor over the weekend. The film, which screened at Sundance, explores the lives (shockingly) of nine women of varying ages, and stars such Hollywood luminaries as Robin Wright Penn, Holly Hunter, and Glenn Close. In addition to the film's recognition, the female cast was collectively recognized for giving the Best Female Performance.

While the film's subject is perhaps far from revolutionary, director Rodrigo Garcias' (son of Gabriel Garcia Marquez) technique is unusual:  the film consists of nine unedited stedicam shots, each of which lasts 10 minutes. Though some viewers have been frustrated by the lack of story resolution inevitable with this approach, the jury at Locarno was clearly impressed.  On the strength of previous screenings, the film has already been picked up for distribution by Magnolia, and also has a DVD agreement with Sony -- so soon, each of us will be able to decide for ourselves whether Garcia is a filmmaking genius or a useless hack.