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ZURICH 2019

The Zurich Film Festival unveils its rich and varied line-up

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- For its 15th edition, the festival running 26 September to 6 October will place focus on ecology and on women, with the latter directing or playing lead roles in many of this year’s works

The Zurich Film Festival unveils its rich and varied line-up
Paradise War: The Story of Bruno Manser by Niklaus Hilber

This year will see 170 films hailing from 58 countries presented during the Zurich Film Festival (26 September – 6 October), 12 in world premieres and 5 in European premieres. Opening this 15th edition of the event will be the weighty Swiss production Paradise War – The Story of Bruno Manser [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Niklaus Hilber
film profile
]
by Niklaus Hilber (the director of Amateur Teens [+see also:
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, which won the Audience Award right here in Zurich in 2015 and which was also nominated for the Swiss Film Award in no less than three categories). The main actor, who plays the titular, militant Basel ecologist is the young and upcoming star of Swiss cinema Sven Schelker.

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It’s no coincidence that the opening film of the festival will shine a light on ecological concerns of a decidedly topical kind. In fact, there are a great number of films in the line-up honing in on this burning issue, including Sanctuary [+see also:
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by Álvaro Longoria, a project led and produced by Javier Bardem (who will be one of the stars gracing this year’s hefty ZFF Masters programme) which highlights the need for and the difficulties involved in creating an ocean sanctuary (in the Special Screenings section), Watson by director Lesley Chilcott, which places focus on the founder of Greenpeace Paul Watson (in the highly awaited Premières Gala section), while Sea of Shadows by Austria’s Richard Ladkani, set to be screened in the Focus ‘Switzerland, Germany, Austria’ Competition, explores the controversial matter of whaling.

In terms of the female presence in cinema, which the Zurich Film Festival is proudly looking to foreground, figures standing tall in this 15th edition include Kristen Stewart, who will receive the coveted Golden Eye for her already impressive career and who is scheduled to speak in Zurich in one of a series of events intitled “A Conversation With”; Cate Blanchett upon whom the Festival will bestow its highest possible honour, the Golden Icon Award (which will find itself in female hands for the third consecutive year), and to whom a 12-film retrospective will be dedicated, and; the effusive Julie Delpy who will take part in the “Women of Impact” symposium. The French director and actress will also be in Zurich to present her latest film My Zoe [+see also:
film review
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interview: Julie Delpy
film profile
]
in a European premiere (Premières Gala).

Staying true to the glamour for which it is famed, this year’s Zurich Film Festival won’t be short on appearances from Hollywood stars either: alongside Javier Bardem and Julie Delpy, Oliver Stone (president of the jury for the International Feature Films Competition), Donald Sutherland and Roland Emmerich will also play lead roles in the ZFF Masters programme.

As for the International Competition, the strong presence of European films stands out: 10 out of a total 14 films, both productions and co-productions, are European. Jostling among the many first films in this section, we find Jérémy Clapin’s intriguing animation I Lost My Body [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Jérémy Clapin
film profile
]
(the winner of this year’s Cannes’ Critics’ Week) and Lynn + Lucy [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Fyzal Boulifa
film profile
]
by the English filmmaker of Moroccan origin Fyzal Boulifa, who offers up a story about friendship and takes the viewer to the very heart of the teenage world, not to mention the crackling work Rocks [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Sarah Gavron
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]
, which also comes courtesy of a British director, this time in the form of Sarah Gavron. Meanwhile, And Then We Danced [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Levan Akin
film profile
]
by Levan Akin (Switzerland/Georgia/France) and A White, White Day [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Hlynur Pálmason
film profile
]
by Icelandic director Hlynur Pálmason follow the torments of two distinctly unusual protagonists, with the intense work Queen of Hearts [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: May el-Toukhy
film profile
]
by Denmark’s May el-Toukhy further strengthening the Scandinavian presence in Zurich. Last but not least, Serbian director Miroslav Terzić gives us another portrait of a woman by way of Stitches [+see also:
film review
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interview: Miroslav Terzić
film profile
]
, which looks at illegal adoption in Belgrade in the 1990s. In short, a collection of fascinating and incredibly diverse films is set to grace a competition packed full of surprises.

(Translated from Italian)

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