The Zurich Film Festival will spotlight homegrown Swiss films, three documentary films and two feature films in its Special Screenings’ section. The Special Screenings’ section also includes a line-up of eight short films put together by the Swiss Cancer League (Krebsliga).

The 39-year-old, Hamburg-born filmmaker Nahuel Lopez accompanies the British violinist Daniel Hope, who was appointed Music Director of the Zurich Chamber Orchestra last year, on a cinematic journey through his musical career. DANIEL HOPE – DER KLANG DES LEBENS is the portrait of an extraordinarily talented violinist whose career is as closely linked to Yehudi Menuhin as Yehudi is to Switzerland.

She was a muse, model and performer, a dazzling star that shone bright and intensely: Lady Shiva went from street prostitute to muse of such artists as Ursula Rodel, Lou Reed and David Bowie. She lived life in the fast lane and died tragically young. Zurich-born filmmaker Gabriel Baur’s documentary GLOW goes in search of an irrepressible woman with, ultimately, a self-destructive desire for freedom.  

Mikhail Gorbachev, former General Secretary of the Communist Party and President of the Soviet Union, is the father of the political reform movements Glasnost and Perestroika. His brave politics earned him the Nobel Peace Prize in 1990. US filmmaker Leila Conners’ Swiss co-production THE ARROW OF TIME is the portrait of a Russian politician, who still continues in his tireless quest for global peace.

Born in Zurich in 1936, Rolf Lyssy is regarded as the ‘old master’ of Swiss filmmaking. His film DIE SCHWEIZERMACHER, which he made in 1978, remains at the top of Switzerland’s list of greatest box-office successes in the last 50 years. His most recent comedy DIE LETZTE POINTE highlights the less light-hearted subject of assisted suicide. Monica Gubser excels in her role as a life-weary pensioner.

37-year-old, Berne-born Juri Steinhart’s LASST DIE ALTEN STERBEN also falls into the tragicomedy category. His most recent film is the portrait of a present-day generation’s malaise brought on by living in a cotton-candy world – what is there to rebel against when everything is accepted and permitted? Lead actor Max Hubacher plays the wannabe young revolutionary.

The Swiss Cancer League (Krebsliga) presents eight short films about cancer. Filmmakers from around the word highlight in five short fiction films, two animation films and a short documentary film what it means to live with cancer. The project was initiated and supported by the Swiss Cancer League. Each director has tackled a different aspect of the illness.

Topics raised include dealing with extreme experiences, saying goodbye and the fears a cancer diagnosis can trigger, for example the fear of no longer being able to cope with everyday life or the fear of losing ones own parents. The films also demonstrate how cancer affects a person’s whole social setting.

The aim of the Swiss Cancer League’s film programme is to encourage greater understanding and increase public awareness of the plight faced by cancer sufferers and their loved ones. The Swiss Cancer League informs, accompanies and supports people during and after the diagnosis of cancer, and is committed to making sure their concerns are heard both socially and politically.

Flavio undergoes a mammography out of solidarity for his wife – with surprising results for both. A Turkish girl loses her grip when her mother is sent home from hospital, (apparently) showing no sign of having healed. Regina’s reoccurring dream sees her battle a mysterious beast – she finally manages to escape its clutches. A young woman refuses to accept that her partner is ill and finds comfort in daydreaming. SIE offers an unembellished peek at the experiences of two men whose partners both suffer from cancer. Béa sees the metamorphosis of a caterpillar into a butterfly as the symbol of her imminent death. An unusual friendship develops when a stubborn old man and a nervous young girl are forced to share a hospital room. And a mother, who lies dying, gradually says goodbye to her loved one.

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