Launched in 2005, the Zurich Film Festival (ZFF) has soon become one of the most important international film festivals in Europe. Last year, approximately 98’000 visitors and more than 500 accredited journalists attended the festival’s screenings.
From 27 September to 7 October 2018, more than 160 productions from 48 countries, including 42 debut works, 12 world premieres and 16 Swiss films, will screen at this year’s Zurich Film Festival.
Get in the mood for the ZFF 2018 by watching the trailers of VERTIGO’s top 11 films.
BEST FILMS TO WATCH AT THE ZURICH FILM FESTIVAL
Capharnaüm / Capernaum by Nadine Labaki, Lebanon
“I want to sue my parents. Because they gave birth to me”, says 12-year-old Zain in court. Instead of going to school like other children in Beirut, he is already forced to earn money for his family. When his parents sell his younger sister Sahar to their landlord, Zain decides to run away from home. (Screenings of Capernaum at the ZFF. Lebanese film director and actress Nadine Labaki will attend the first screening on 30 September)
Girl by Lukas Dhont, Belgium & Netherlands
In relentless pursuit of her dream of becoming a ballerina, Lara is facing difficulties that go beyond the pressure to perform. She was born a boy – and desperately longs to have a female body. Her family, her father in particular, is supporting Lara through her hormone treatment. Nevertheless, she soon starts to lose her patience: the physical changes are progressing at a very slow pace and the planned sex change is still far too far away. (Screenings of Girl at the ZFF)
Girl, the first feature film by Belgian director Lukas Dhont, was awarded the Caméra d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival in 2018. The performance by actor Victor Polster is amazing.
Wolkenbruch by Michael Steiner, Switzerland
Motti Wolkenbruch has always done exactly what his Jewish Orthodox Mame has told him to. But Mame’s latest project is not really going too well. She has been trying to marry off her son for quite some time – but Motti is not the slightest bit interested in any of the women she presents to him. And then one day he meets the beautiful non-Jew Laura at the University of Zurich and falls for her immediately. She’s cheeky and adventurous – and completely different to the woman Mame wants to see by his side. As Mame has left no room in Motti’s life plan for falling in love with a “shiksa”, the shy young man is forced to embark on a curious journey to self-determination. (Screenings of Wolkenbruch at the ZFF)
Colette by Wash Westmoreland, UK & USA
Colette is the ravishing portrait of one of the most successful French authors of all time. Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette is a vibrant, young and highly-intelligent woman when she marries her 14-year-older Parisian lover Willy. Thanks to his vast array of ghost-writers, he is a quite a well-known author. In order to finance his extravagant lifestyle, he encourages Colette to write down stories from her youth. He publishes her first novel Claudine Awakens under his own name – to great acclaim. (Screenings of Colette at the ZFF)
Dogman by by Matteo Garrone, Italy & France
Marcello runs a dog-grooming salon in La Magliana, a rundown suburb of Rome. At night, he deals cocaine in order to finance a vacation with his daughter. Marcello is a friendly and loyal member of the neighbourhood – extending his kindness also to Simoncino, a drug-addicted ex-boxer who terrorises the whole area with his sudden and violent outbursts. When Simoncino forces underdog Marcello to hand over his grooming parlour for a robbery he is planning on the adjoining jewellery shop, Marcello’s life is turned upside down. (Screenings of Dogman at the ZFF)
Studio 54 by Matt Tyrnauer, USA & UK
Founded by the big-dreaming and equally enterprising friends Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell in April 1977, Studio 54, located on New York’s West Side, soon became a hot spot for a high society that stood for a new, extensively hedonistic party culture. Getting past the selective bouncers proved to be increasingly difficult for regular mortals. Negative publicity also came sooner rather than later: just 33 months after its opening, the club was stormed by the US tax authority and Schrager and Rubell found themselves behind bars. 40 years after its closure, Studio 54 offers a vibrant portrait of the most legendary nightclub of all time. (Screenings of Studio 54 at the ZFF)
People’s Republic of Desire by Hao Wu, China & USA
Self-proclaimed internet starlets are sitting in front of their webcams, singing pop songs, eating or ranting against the world. These bizarre live streams are the most popular form of entertainment in China. In virtual showrooms, fans are in direct contact with their idols. Surrounded by online fans yet isolated in the real world, the film explores the fleeting happiness of virtual relationships in the context of China’s current internet culture. (Screening of People’s Republic of Desire at the ZFF)
Mamacita by José Pablo Estrada Torrescano / Germany, Mexico & Luxemburg
“Mamacita”, the founder of a Mexican beauty empire, resides on her estate surrounded by loyal domestic helpers. They are always available for Mamacita whose scrutinous eye exerts constant surveillance in spite of her 95 years. Mamacita and her eight children have dedicated their entire lives to her empire. When her grandson José Pablo went to Europe to study film several years ago, Mamacita made him promise to one day make a film about her life. Now José Pablo has returned to his homeland in order to shoot the film. Soon he discovers long-suppressed family secrets under the smoothly ironed, shiny surface that continue to affect five generations of the upper middle-class family even today. Gradually, he makes his way to his grandmother’s heart and the core of humanity: the desire to be loved. (Screenings of Mamacita at the ZFF)
Green Book by Peter Farrelly, USA
The setting is 1960’s New York, prior to the American Civil Rights Movement: Tony Lip is working as a bouncer in the Bronx. When the kind-hearted Italian-American gets an order to drive Dr. Don Shirley to the Southern States, he does not give it a second thought. Shirley, as eloquent as a poet and one of the world’s best jazz pianists, is planning a concert tour from New York to the conservative South, where, however, segregation is still being practiced. In order to avoid any possible racist attacks, the two very different men stick to the Negro Motorist Green Book, an annual guide for African Americans containing tips on motels, restaurants and gas stations. (Screenings of Green Book at the ZFF. Danish actor Viggo Mortensen will attend the gala premiere.)
Three Identical Strangers by Tim Wardle, UK & USA
The identical triplets Bobby, Eddy and David were separated at birth and each put under the care of a different adoptive family in New York. Not even their adoptive parents knew the truth. The incredible story of the accidentally reunited triplets spread like wildfire in the media during the 1980s. (Screenings of Three Identical Strangers at the ZFF)
Der Läufer / Midnight Runner by Hannes Baumgartner, Switzerland
How does one become a murderer? After a difficult childhood, Jonas Widmer seems to have found his way in life – he is considered one of the most talented long-distance runners in Switzerland, works as a successful chef, maintains a relationship with his adoptive mother and is planning to move in with his girlfriend Simone. If only his recurring dreams about meeting his deceased brother who took his own life two years ago would just go away… It almost seems as if Jonas is being followed by a dark shadow. Unable to verbalise his internal struggles, the sensitive young man develops a tragic double life in an attempt to overcome his despair. Director Hannes Baumgartner’s first feature film was inspired by a true Swiss crime. (Screenings of Der Läufer at ZFF)
Short Films on Cancer
Organised in collaboration with the Swiss Cancer League, this line-up comprises five short films that shed light on living with cancer from several different perspectives.
Visit the official website of the Zurich Film Festival