A tax haven in Switzerland, a half-hearted fight against tax evaders in Germany, a formerly wealthy African country that was led into the abyss by world market prices of raw materials: What at first glance seem to have nothing to do with each other stands for a global economic system that determines all our lives – and the filmmaker is right in the middle of it.
VOLUNTEER is a film about the grassroots movement of ordinary Swiss citizens who set out to help thousands of refugees stranded in Greece. In rich and safe Switzerland, citizens from different backgrounds leave their orderly lives behind to support people in need. There is a Swiss farmer and his wife who raise cows in the Alps, a captain in the Swiss army, a pensioner who resides on the lakeside, and a successful comedian and entertainer. These volunteers embark on an adventure that will change their lives forever.
Aïcha, Johan and the couple Lo Manto have taken a step in their lives that has disturbed many people around them. They have made the Muslim creed. This is the beginning of their transformation and reorientation. Aïcha moves from the rural province to the big city and euphorically follows the strict rules of her new religion. The Lo Mantos try to assert themselves against prejudices in their surroundings. And Johan? He wears a beard and flirts with his role as a devout Muslim. Or is filmmaker David Vogel just imagining it? What role does his own Jewish past play? The longer he accompanies his protagonists, the more he feels that he cannot ignore his own biography. His religious past catches up with those he thought he had left far behind.
Madame – das ist Caroline. Die alte Dame, macht sofort klar, dass sich hinter der koketten Frisur und den bourgeoisen Manieren mehr als nur ein starker Charakter verbirgt.
Im Mittelpunkt des Films steht die Beziehung zu ihrem Enkel Stéphane Riethauser, dem Filmemacher. Madame ist ein doppeltes Selbstporträt, in dem sich die Matriarchin und ihr homosexueller Enkel sich einander anvertrauen. Mit Aufrichtigkeit und Humor dekonstruiert der Film tiefgründig und mit subversiver Kraft Geschlechterklischees und zeichnet mit bezaubernden Archivbildern eine Familiensaga aus der bürgerlichen Gesellschaft nach.