There are many excellent long feature films and documentaries at the Zurich Film Festival, two of them in the German language, are Die Frau, die sich traut and Neuland.
DIE FRAU, DIE SICH TRAUT (90 min)
This drama is the second long feature film of German director, Marc Rensing. It is the story of a woman Beate, approaching her fifties and finding out she has a cervical cancer. She has to make an important decision to start immediate cancer treatment or to fulfil her long last dream, which is crossing the English Channel. She decides to start training even if it could put her life in even more danger.
The main actress playing Beate, Steffi Kühnert, came on the stage on the day of the Première accompanied by the director of the film and the producer, Stefan Sporbert.
She explained how difficult it was for her to do this role. When Rensing called her to propose the project, she told him that she could do many things but could not swim. She continued smiling, “now I can swim!” During 5 to 6 weeks she trained with a coach, who kept on telling her that swimming is like meditation. She got up early and went swimming in the Baltic sea in 13 C water, she explained. It took a lot of energy, but she is happy with the results.
The film was mainly filmed in the Baltic sea, shared the producer. The team was extremely lucky with the weather.
The director, who is also the co-screenwriter of the film with Annette Friedmann, wrote the part thinking of Steffi. He knew her and always liked her work. He obtained his degree at the Film academy of Baden Württemberg in 2005 and had his first film Parkour on the screens in 2009.
This film is very inspiring and should not be missed.
Next screening is on Friday October 4th at noon at Corso 4 in Bellevue.
NEULAND – UNKNOWN TERRITORY- (93 min)
This Swiss documentary from Anna Thommen just won the First Steps Award in Berlin in September. It is the graduation’s film of Thommen, who studied at the Zurich University of Arts.
For two years from the summer of 2010 through the summer of 2012 she followed some international students in Basel, taking an integration class. Some of the students were Ehsanullah a 19 year old teenager from Afghanistan, Ismail Aliji and his sister Nazlije Aliji from Albania, all very touching people, trying very hard to succeed in Switzerland.
Ehsanullah deals with the pressure back at home to have to reimburse a large sum of money borrowed for his trip to Switzerland. Choosing between staying in school or working, becomes more and more a dilemma when the 2 year school end approaches.
All teenagers came for different reasons, to flee the war, to get a better life or to join a family member and arrived in Basel without knowing German. Their teacher was Christian Zingg, a man with a big heart, who not only teaches them how to speak, make a C.V., find a job but also gives them guidance, respect, understanding and love.
From day one, he makes them understand that what is important in life is to have a goal and work toward it. Mr. Zingg has worked in that school for 25 years and you can feel how much he enjoys his job. He took three days off to come to Zurich to present the film at the ZFF.
He confessed to the moderator on the day of the première that between Basel and Zurich, it is neuland!
For the producer Stefan Eichenberger and the teacher Christian Zingg, it was evident that they would be a part of the film. Finding finances was not easy, Eichenberger told the spectators (mainly class students from various ethnic backgrounds with their teachers) that the screening of Neuland at the Zurich Film Festival could just be a beginning. They are hoping that the film does well and comes out on the screens.
This moving film shows that among other things a good teacher can make a big difference in someone’s life.
Next screening is Thursday October 3rd at 3:45 p.m. at the Corso 2 Cinema.