At the 18th Zurich Film Festival (September 22-October 2), the stars will arrive one after the other: Sir Ben Kingsley will be honoured with the Golden Icon, while Charlotte Gainsbourg and Eddie Redmayne will receive a Golden Eye for their careers, and the Green Carpet will also be rolled out for Swiss film. The programme includes 146 films from 49 countries and includes 49 debut works. A record 38 films will be screened as World or European premieres.
Rarely has the glam factor at the ZFF been greater: Stars such as Sir Ben Kingsley, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Eddie Redmayne, Liam Neeson, Til Schweiger, Rebel Wilson and Machine Gun Kelly are expected at the ZFF, where they will present their most recent works in person.
“We are delighted to be able to welcome more stars to Zurich this year than ever before,” explains Christian Jungen, Artistic Director of the Zurich Film Festival. “The ZFF enjoys an excellent international reputation, which is why it is also possible to present films such as the World remiere of THE ALMOND AND THE SEAHORSE with Rebel Wilson and Charlotte Gainsbourg, and European Premieres such as DALÍLAND with Sir Ben Kingsley and THE GOOD NURSE with Eddie Redmayne.”
In the “Gala Premieres” section, the ZFF is showing the most anticipated auteur films of the coming season. One highlight is the film noir thriller MARLOWE by Oscar winner Neil Jordan (The Crying Game), which the Irishman will present to the audience together with stars Liam Neeson and Diane Kruger. Kruger plays a femme fatale who hires a private detective, Philip Marlowe (Neeson) to shadow her ex-husband in 1930s Hollywood.
Other highlights in the section include the road movie BONES AND ALL by Luca Guadagnino, who presented Call Me By Your Name at the ZFF five years ago and will this year accept the A Tribute to… Award, the ZFF’s highest honour for a director. Also coming to ZFF for the second time is Eddie Redmayne, who shone in the 2007 opening film Savage Grace. The Oscar winner will present his new film THE GOOD NURSE by Tobias Lindholm. In it he embodies a nurse who becomes a deadly danger for his patients. The Brit receives a Golden Eye for his outstanding acting career, as will the French-British actress Charlotte Gainsbourg.
Til Schweiger will present his latest directorial work LIEBER KURT, a best-seller adaptation in which he plays the leading role of a father whose new love helps him deal with the recent loss of his son. Other prestige productions from Germany are DER NACHNAME by Sönke Wortmann, which celebrates its World premiere in the presence of Iris Berben and Christoph Maria Herbst, and the European premiere of ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT by Edward Berger. The anti-war film based on the classic book by Erich Maria Remarque, which is the German Oscar entry.
Auteur filmmakers presenting their latest works to the Zurich public include: Kiril Serebrennikow (TCHAIKOWSKY’S WIFE), Bill Pohlad (DREAMIN’ WILD), Gina Prince-Bythewood (THE WOMAN KING), Marie Kreutzer (CORSAGE), Mia Hansen-Løve (UN BEAU MATIN), Lukas Dhont (CLOSE), Rebecca Zlotowski (LES ENFANTS DES AUTRES), Cristian Mungiu (R.M.N.), Oliver Hermanus (LIVING) and Louis Garrel (L’INNOCENT).
Swiss film plays a central role in the programme. The ZFF is showing 18 domestic productions across all sections, including the World premiere of A FORGOTTEN MAN by Laurent Nègre from Geneva. Inspired by Thomas Hürlimann’s play “Der Gesandte” and new sources, he tells of the dubious role of the Swiss ambassador in Hitler’s Reich. The senior citizen comedy DIE GOLDENEN JAHRE by Barbara Kulcscar starring Esther Gemsch and Stefan Kurt will also be shown as a World premiere. “Swiss film is on the up,” explains Christian Jungen. “We want to offer a platform for domestic cinema and contribute to the works being recognised internationally.”
In each of the three competition sections, 14 innovative films compete for the main prize, a Golden Eye, which is endowed with CHF 25,000 (Swiss Francs). The competitions are geared towards discovering new talent by showing first, second and third directorial works. Feature films and documentaries from Germany, Austria and Switzerland are screened in the “Focus Competition”, including ten debut works and nine films by women directors. “One theme that comes up in many films is the search for one’s own identity,” explains Christian Jungen. “In the Austrian drama EISMAYER by David Wagner, a tough instructor in the military has to learn to admit his homosexuality, while the documentary BECOMING GIULIA by Laura Kaehr is about a ballet dancer returning to performance after maternity leave.
In the Feature Film Competition, eight films by women and six films by men being considered for the Golden Eye, including eight debut works. Many filmmakers reflect the problems of a society in transition through family stories. Often the protagonists are at the centre standing by their identity and bearing the consequences. For example, the owner of a cake factory in the Danish comedy THE CAKE DYNASTY, who converts to Islam, or the Ukrainian women who enter into arranged marriages with Jewish men in Israel in VALERIA IS GETTING MARRIED.
In the Documentary Film Competition, eight out of 14 films are debut works. Many of them spotlight people who stand up against grievances. THE KILLING OF A JOURNALIST reconstructs with accuracy and thriller suspense the background that led to the murder of a Ringier journalist in Slovakia in 2018. A TASTE OF WHALE examines how animal rights activists fight against the centuries-old tradition of whaling in the Faroe Islands. While SAM NOW uses Super 8 footage and home movies to explore wounds of separation and the power of reconciliation.
The awards will be presented on October 1 during the Award Night at Zurich Opera House.
The Hashtag section is dedicated to a topic that is currently trending on social media. The ZFF is showing eight films under the hashtag #MyReligion. “Religions are having a comeback in many countries, such as the USA or Russia, which can lead to problems in coexistence in multicultural societies,” explains ZFF Director Christian Jungen. “We show films like BOY FROM HEAVEN or HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL, which shed light on the influence of classical religions on society. But also works like TIKTOK BOOM about modern substitute religions like Tiktotk, which is practiced by many users with missionary zeal.”
New World View
This year’s “New World View” section is dedicated to the guest country Spain. 12 works of exciting, young Spanish cinema will be shown, including ALCARRÀS by Carla Simón about the existence of a family of peach farmers in Catalonia under threat, which won a best film at the Berlinale or EN LOS MÁRGENES, the directorial debut of Spanish actor Juan Diego Botto. In his social drama, Penélope Cruz shines as a cashier on the brink of losing her apartment.
The 18th Zurich Film Festival takes place from September 22 until October 2, 2022. Tickets go on sale on Monday September 12 at 12 noon on the ZFF website and at the ticket booth at Paradeplatz in Zurich.