A few weeks ago ended the 9th Zurich Film Festival. During eleven days 71,000 people came to the screenings. But what did Vivamost like the best about this film festival?
OPENING FILM: RUSH
The co-director of the ZFF Karl Spoerri had said Rush would be the perfect film to open the festival and would be the “Grand Prix of Zurich”. He was right. It was a great action film, funny and always exciting even to non Formule One fans. The director Ron Howard does a beautiful job in retelling the story of Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), who competes against the playboy James Hunt (Chris Hemsworth). Despite Niki’s terrible accident in 1976 during a race, he goes back just after 6 weeks later to finish the world championship. The acting is outstanding. Rush goes by too quickly. Definitely our favourite film this year and worth watching and re-watching!
MEET & GREET
During three afternoons the ZFF organized a 1 hour session at the festival tent so journalists could meet the directors of the films. The atmosphere was really relaxed sitting on the lounge sofas while drinking coffee and eating desserts.
It was so nice meeting with the director of The First Sea/Das erste Meer, Clara Trischler, and her cameraman, Jakob Fuhr. Both are Austrian but live in different countries at the moment studying and working on other documentaries. Clara is in Buenos Aire. Das Erste Meer is an amazing documentary showing how Palestinian children get to go to the sea for the first time. Israelis, who are for peace, have been organizing such trips every summer since 7 or 8 years. (More about Das Erste Meer will come later).
As well we met with the German director of Nothing Bad Can Happen/Tore Tanzt, Katrin Gebbe. She explained how her first long feature drama did so well in Austin, TX, at the fantastic film festival and she sold it right away. But she added about her controversial movie, which took her two years to film, “You hate it or you love it”. It raises big questions, she continued. The film was shown at the Cannes festival this year and already got a distributor just like in Germany. Agnieszka who watched the film for us said after the screening “it was brilliant. I am totally overwhelmed and touched.”
INTERVIEW WITH DENIS VILLENEUVE
One afternoon we met with Denis Villeneuve, the Canadian Director of “Prisoners”. The meeting was nicely organized by the PR team of Ascot-Elite Films in Switzerland. We sat in a beautiful conference room at the Baur-au-Lac hotel for a short interview. The thriller Prisoners is the newest film of Villeneuve, which was shown at the festival during a Gala Première. Villeneuve was nominated at the Oscars for his last film “Incendies”.
There were so many good and interesting documentaries during the festival, which run in both the German and International competitions. Here are our favorites.
Unknown Territory/Neuland, the ZFF winning German documentary by Anna Thommen is a moving story of young immigrants coming to Switzerland and having to learn the culture and the language to be able to stay in the country.
You Remain the Farmer/ Der Blauer Bleibst Du by Benedikt Kuby: a simple touching story
The Human Scale by Andreas Dalsgaard: a good documentary, a movie that leaves you with something to think about
Inequality for All: good work. It is the third documentary by Jacob Kornbluth.
CLOSING PARTY OF THE ZURICH FILM FESTIVAL
The festival had so many incredible parties this year in various places like the Club Bellevue, the Folium for the Sounds of Tarantino, the Papiersaal for the Sounds of Brazil, the Club Hiltl, the Tommy Hilfiger store for the jury dinner and the Bernhard Theater for the closing ceremony. Swiss VIPS danced all night long with the winners of the Zurich Film Festival while eating delicious food and celebrating with a glass of Champagne.
MEETING CHRISTIAN ZINGG & ANNA THOMMEN
We loved Neuland! Seeing Anna Thommen, the woman who directed such a wonderful documentary and Herr Zingg, the teacher who makes the film so touching, was a great moment. On the green carpet the team looked relaxed and happy be there. When Christian Zingg heard his name being called, he burst into laughter. Wow, he had become a star! At the end of the awards ceremony at the Zurich Opera House, I met with both Christian Zingg and director Anna Thommen. The two holding a bouquet of flowers gladly chatted and paused for pictures. Anna lifted her Golden Eye proudly and even let me carry it. And if you wonder if the eyes are heavy, yes they are!
It was extremely nice to able to see so many personalities on the green carpets every night and the directors who came for the Gala Premières. We loved seeing Martina Gedeck with her husband Director Markus Imboden and actor Henry Hübchen. We enjoyed the more quieter carpets where Jonathan Teplitzky came to present “The Railway Man” and David Gordon Green, “Joe”.
For us the most exciting evening on the green carpet was the night Hugh Jackman received the Golden Icon Award and presented his film. He stayed on the street and the carpet for over thirty minutes talking to fans, running like a kid to please everyone. It was unbelievable.
OUR QUESTIONS TO HARRISON FORD AND HUGH JACKMAN
Both actors gave a press conference at the Baur au Lac the day they received their Golden Eye.
“Mr. Ford you were in so many amazing films, which one of them would you like to redo if you could redo only of them?” After a short reflection, Harrison responded it was probably a film I did not know, 42. It is a movie which was just released in the United States this year he continued. The character he played was the former owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers Baseball team. For those not familiar he added that they signed up Jackie Robinson, the first African American to play in Major League Baseball in the USA. Forty-two “was a splendid opportunity, a wonderful script and it was a great character role, which I was ambitious for all my career and I finally got to do it.”
Mr Jackman would you say that out of the roles you ever played on the emotional side, Prisoners was one of the most difficult? Jackman agreed saying that just by reading the script or watching the film you see it only take 10 minutes for his character to go through hell. He added that if he was able to do a good job it is because of the other actors and compares acting as dancing “You are as good as your partner.”
MOVIES WE LIKED
All is lost: a man (Robert Redford) is lost at sea and he courageously battled to survive until he thinks all is lost. Redford’s performance is outstanding.
Diana: a portrait of Princess Diana (Naomi Watts) and her secret love story with Dr. Khan (Naveen Andrews) during the last years of her life. Amusing and sad story with good acting. Naomi Watt is brilliant even if she does not quite look like the real Diana.
DIe Frau, die sich traut: German film from director Marc Rensing about a woman in her early 50′s who decides to cross the English Channel after being diagnosed with cancer. A must see.
We are looking forward to next year!