Mesmerizing & Hypnotic – Sofilm
Visually stunning – The Guardian
A prodigious odyssey – Arte
Giacomo Abbruzzese’s hypnotic debut work was greeted as a breath of fresh air at the Berlinale and awarded the Silver Bear for Hélène Louvart’s cinematography. Franz Rogowski’s usual intense acting is in harmony with the examination of the simultaneity of different lifeworlds, blurred boundaries, and the demand for new, contemporary stories in this drama about a foreign legionnaire.
Aleksei is willing to do anything to escape Belarus. He travels to Paris and enlists in the Foreign Legion. He is sent to fight in the Niger Delta, where the young revolutionary Jomo is fighting the oil companies that have devastated his village. While Aleksei looks for a new family in the legion, Jomo imagines becoming a dancer, a disco boy. In the jungle, their dreams and destinies will cross.
Aleksei is a young Belarusian on the run from a past he must bury. In a kind of Faustian pact, he becomes a member of the French Foreign Legion and in return receives French citizenship. Far away, in the Niger Delta, Jomo is a revolutionary activist engaged in armed struggle to defend his community. Aleksei is a soldier, Jomo a guerrilla. Through another senseless war, their fates become intertwined.
What is “otherness” and can you integrate it into your own self as you go through life, crossing borders and being in an ever-changing space, both physically and mentally? Giacomo Abbruzzese’s unconventional thinking and inventiveness catches our eye as he explores such questions through an image-rich narrative and staging full of poetry and fertile tension. Bodies go through trance states that are both revealing and gifting as they create the possibility for communication. Electronic musician Vitalic’s powerful soundtrack accompanies this magical reverie, contributing to the idea that a nightclub is the closest you can get to transcendence, and the ultimate destination for people who point their compass towards the sacred horizon of utopia.
Antek, 22, grows up in a deeply religious and right-wing family in present-day Poland. Catholicism, nationalism and above all celibacy define his world.
Over several years, filmmaker Hanka Nobis accompanies him, his friends and his family with her team. She witnesses Antek enjoying his growing power in the Brotherhood, a small group of like-minded young men. But when he falls in love, he begins to have doubts.
Five senior citizens dare to step into the unknown. For 18 months, they will participate in a training based on mindfulness and altruism, which will be measured for a study. The aim is to evaluate the effects of meditation on ageing. The film tells their personal journey and mirrors it with scientific objectivity and the challenges of ageing well in our society. Living longer and longer – yes, but how?
Beyond the adventure of these seniors citizens, the film shows meditation as a way to connect with oneself and one’s surroundings. It illuminates the realities of this path with stumbling blocks, moments of doubt, gratitude, joy and sometimes relief.
In a near future, the Japanese government programme “Plan 75” encourages older people to die voluntarily in order to combat the ageing of society. A senior citizen who can no longer live independently, a pragmatic “Plan 75” salesman and a young Filipino caregiver face a life-or-death decision.
Chie Hayakawa’s PLAN 75 is a wonderfully humanistic story that imaginatively uses Japan’s ageing crisis as a template for a dystopian narrative. But PLAN 75 is not all gloom. By following Michiko, Maria and Hiromu on their journey, director Hayakawa celebrates life and all its everyday, small pleasures. The centrepiece within this triptych of stories is Michiko, embodied by the formidable Chieko Baisho, an independent senior citizen who turns to “Plan 75” as her last option.
PLAN 75 reçoit les trois prix les plus importants au Festival du Film International de Fribourg : Grand Prix, the Critics’ Choice Award et Comundo Youth Jury Award
Our big partner: GINMAKU FILM FESTIVAL ZURICH
How can one talk about feminist struggles in a tender way with an enlightened patriarch?
Under the influence of a very personal poetic potion, Nadia Fares transforms the homage to her beloved Egyptian father into a chronicle of the situation of women in Egypt and in Switzerland. She explores the effects of patriarchal tradition as a mirror effect between Orient and Occident.
Spectacular costume drama from Algeria
Algeria, 1516. The pirate Aroudj Barbarossa, together with King Salim Toumi, drives the Spanish occupiers out of Algiers. But the peace is short-lived: rumour has it that Barbarossa has murdered the king and declared himself ruler. When everyone from the royal court flees, only Queen Zaphira stands up to him. Between history and legend, her rebellion tells of the personal and political turmoil she endures for the sake of Algiers.
The cinema spectacle from Algeria is the first of its kind and reproduces the multilingual and diverse world of the Maghreb at historical sites. Told for the first time from a female perspective, THE LAST QUEEN – EL AKHIRA breaks with tradition and creates space for a woman who becomes a heroine in adversity.
It is a story Algerians have never seen before and they need it to dig deep into their history and culture. – Cineuropa
The debut feature co-directed by Algerian director-actress Adila Bendimerad and French-Algerian director Damien Ounouri – immerses us, swinging between refined court life and bloody battles, royal splendour and fights to the last blood.
to the last blood. – Cineuropa
Co-director/co-writer Damien Ounouri described the film as
a costume drama, and he wasn’t lying. But it felt like so much more. It felt like a good episode of Game of Thrones. – Universal Cinema
The Last Queen (113 minutes) explores under-represented chapters of history and offers ample space for expurgated perspectives and voices. It is an intimate and beautifully shot period piece about a complicated female heroic figure. – High on Films
Ren, who is in her mid-twenties, goes on holiday with her Italian-Canadian parents and her younger sister Siena. Her family doesn’t know that she recently lost her job. Ren tries to find her way around the beach resort, which is geared towards retirees, and to escape her parents’ loving but overprotective ways, while her sister keeps the family on their toes with her rebellious outbursts. Knowing that Ren will be even more dependent on her parents’ support after the holidays, the resort house feels more and more confining.
In this refreshingly cliché-free film, writer-director Luis De Filippis tells of vibrant family dynamics and explores a Millennial’s conflicted desire to be independent yet cared for. While the film perfectly captures the tenor of a summer holiday where sunshine, watered-down booze, boredom and awkwardness are standard, there is an underlying sense of the slight unease that afflicts Ren as a trans woman in a conservative resort. Beyond melodramatic stereotypes, De Filippis and her team show us a world that authentically represents the trans experience.
There are jobs without which society would not function. Who are those caretakers, the people who keep everyday life going, who keep the homes clean, provide food, and make it possible for the rest of us to live and work comfortably even during a pandemic?
In Switzerland, there is a basic lack of social recognition for these frontliners. Before, many of them were largely invisible. That has changed. Society today is aware of the value of their work. But what has really changed? And how do these hard workers feel about the attention they suddenly got? Why do they stay in their jobs and what would they change?
The film gives a voice to those that usually remain silent and invisible: a single mother, a young nurse, a sales manager and mother of three, a politically active child care worker and a Portuguese immigrant working as restaurant manager. In a very fine and silent way, harsh realities are addressed and the big topics of these frontliners become close and clear.
At the small retirement home Dagmarsminde, the founding nurse May Bjerre Eiby has no interest in specific dementia diagnoses or medicine, since neither is improving the quality of life for the 11 residents. Instead, May and her staff have developed a new kind of treatment inspired by the methods that Florence Nightingale introduced 150 years ago. The goal is to inspire a complete change in the way people with dementia are treated in the healthcare system, shifting from medicine to care.
Filmmaker Jules Guarneri grew up in Villars among his adopted siblings in a chalet that is regularly haunted by the ghost of his mother. His father, head and guardian of the family chalets, films himself daily and hands over his cinematic legacy to Jules with the instruction that he should make his first film from it. Thus begins a tricky, intimate and at times pleasurable journey into Jules’ independence.
LE FILM DE MON PÈRE ultimately becomes a very different film from the one his father imagined. Jules Guarneri takes an empathetic and reflexive look at this somewhat neurotic family material and humorously performs a symbolic patricide on the cutting board. The resulting family portrait celebrated its world premiere at the Vision du Réel, where it was awarded the Jury Prize.