Misbehaviour starring Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw
Misbehaviour starring Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw

The 16th Zurich Film Festival confirmed twelve films including the spy thriller The Courier, the erotic drama Passion Simple and Misbehaviour starring Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, for its gala section. The festival presents auteur films with audience appeal in its gala section.

Despite the pandemic, many films will be presented personally by the filmmakers this year. “Although the US border is still closed, we were able to secure important American films,” explains Artistic Director Christian Jungen. “Like NOMADLAND, one of the highly anticipated US titles of the year. We are also particularly looking forward to the British-American espionage thriller The Courier, starring Benedict Cumberbatch, which we are allowed to show as a European premiere at the ZFF. The film One Night In Miami about the encounter of Muhammad Ali and Malcolm X, a prestige production of Amazon, will be shown as a premiere in the German-speaking world”.

16th Zurich Film Festival Gala Premieres

THE COURIER

European premiere
Thriller
UK, USA, 2020
Director: Dominic Cooke
Cast: Benedict Cumberbatch, Merab Ninidze, Rachel Brosnahan, Jessie Buckley

When a high-ranking Soviet officer offers top-secret information about his country’s nuclear plans, the British secret service is on the lookout for a suitable contact person. Instead of a trained agent, they need to recruit an unassuming civilian. Their choice is Greville Wynne, a married businessman who, thrown headlong into the middle of the Cold War’s political conflict, must now prove that he is anything but ordinary. Based on true events.

CONTRA

World premiere
Comedy
Germany, 2020
Director: Sönke Wortmann
Cast: Christoph Maria Herbst, Nilam Farooq, Hassan Akkouch,Ernst Stötzner, Meriam Abbas, Mohammed Issa

After a video of Professor Pohl racially abusing the student Naima makes the rounds, he is ordered by the university president to help her prepare for an important debating competition. Two people who could not be more different are thrown together to work as a team. Greatly entertaining cinema that tackles the topic of political correctness with great humour.

Lacci by Daniele Luchetti
Set of “Lacci” by Daniele Luchetti. in the picture Luigi Lo Cascio, Alba Rohrwacher, Giulia De Luca and Joshua Cerciello. Photo by Gianni Fiorito

LACCI

International premiere
Drama
Italy, 2020
Director: Daniele Luchetti
Cast: Alba Rohrwacher, Luigi Lo Cascio, Laura Morante, Silvio Orlando, Giovanna Mezzogiorno, Adriano Giannini, Linda Caridi, Francesca De Sapio

Naples in the early 1980s. Aldo enters the kitchen, stands next to his wife, Vanda, and confesses to cheating on her. Completely surprised by the news, and feeling like the ground has disappeared from under her feet, Vanda doesn’t know how to react. What does this mean for her family? Based on Domenico Starnone’s novel “Ties” and carried by its strong cast, this emotional drama shows that you can never escape your family, even if love draws you into a new relationship.

Frances McDormand in the film NOMADLAND. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved
Frances McDormand in the film NOMADLAND. Photo Courtesy of Searchlight Pictures. © 2020 20th Century Studios All Rights Reserved

NOMADLAND

Premiere in German-speaking world
Roadmovie
USA, 2020
Director: Chloé Zhao
Cast: Frances McDormand, David Strathairn, Linda May, Swankie

Following the economic collapse of a company town in rural Nevada, Fern packs her van and sets off on the road exploring a life outside of conventional society as a modern-day nomad.

SUPERNOVA

Premiere in German-speaking world
Drama
UK, 2020
Director: Harry Macqueen
Cast: Colin Firth, Stanley Tucci

Sam and Tusker have been an inseparable pair for the last 20 years. When Tusker is diagnosed with early onset dementia, the two set off in their motor home on a final autumnal road trip through England to revisit friends, family and the places of their past. But during the trip, Sam and Tusker’s ideas about the future begin to clash, putting their love for each other to the test like never before. A heartrending and deeply romantic love story packed with sensitive humour.

One Night in Miami by Regina King
One Night in Miami by Regina King

ONE NIGHT IN MIAMI

Premiere in German-speaking world
Drama USA, 2020
Director: Regina King
Cast: Kingsley Ben-Adir, Leslie Odom Jr., Aldis Hodge, Eli Goree, Jasmine Cephas Jones

Cassius Clay – later known as Muhammad Ali – is forbidden from celebrating his legendary win at the location of his triumph due to the legally embedded rule on racial segregation. Instead, he spends the night in an African-American neighbourhood celebrating with his closest friends: activist Malcolm X, singer Sam Cooke and football star Jim Brown. Spurred on by Cassius’ victory, the group is determined to usher in a new era of equality. Based on the eponymous play by Kemp Powers, the film tells the story of the fictional meeting of four pioneers of the civil rights movement.

MISBEHAVIOUR

Premiere in German-speaking world
Drama
UK, France, 2020
Director: Philippa Lowthorpe
Cast: Keira Knightley, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Jessie Buckley, Keeley Hawes, Phyllis Logan

The Miss World competition reached the height of its popularity in 1970 when it was watched on television by over 100 million viewers around the globe. Sally and other members of the Women’s Liberation Movement see this year’s event as the ideal opportunity to present a new image of women to the world. Meanwhile, Miss Grenada Jennifer Hosten is also preparing for the competition. She wants to stand up against racism and discrimination by becoming the first black Miss World.

DREAM HORSE

Premiere in German-speaking world
Comedy
UK, 2020
Director: Euros Lyn
Cast: Toni Collette, Damian Lewis, Owen Teale, Joanna Page, Karl Johnson

Disillusioned by life, animal lover Jan feels like she’s missing out on a dream, which is why, when she overhears a conversation in the pub where she works about the high-flying world of horse racing, she comes up with the crazy plan to breed a special race horse together with a few friends and pub-goers, and stir up the upper-class playground that is the horse racing scene with Dream Alliance. A feel-good comedy based on true events.

HERE WE ARE

Premiere in German-speaking world
Drama
Israel, Italy, 2020
Director: Nir Bergman
Cast: Shai Avivi, Noam Imber, Smadar Wolfman, Efrat Ben-Zur

In his mid-fifties and separated from his wife, Aharon now devotes his entire life to looking after his autistic son Uri. Uri is slowly but surely growing up, and both the authorities and his mother believe that the time has come for him to live a more independent life in specialist accommodation. When the day of the move finally arrives, Aharon begins to doubt whether his son – and himself – are ready for this huge change. A heart-warming, deeply humanistic and humorous drama about fatherly love and the difficulty of letting go.

THE NEST

Premiere in German-speaking world
Psychodrama
UK, Canada 2020
Director: Sean Durkin
Cast: Jude Law, Carrie Coon, Charlie Shotwell, Oona Roche

Allison moves during the mid-1980s from the American suburbs to the English countryside with her family. Her husband, Rory, an ambitious entrepreneur, sees his home country as the place to make big bucks. Clinging to his own illusions, he rents a spacious but gloomy country estate with room for Allison’s horses. But the family threatens to collapse under the weight of an unaffordable lifestyle and increasing isolation. A gripping psychodrama with Jude Law and Carrie Coon in the leading roles.

PASSION SIMPLE

Premiere in German-speaking world
Drama
France, Belgium, 2020
Director: Danielle Arbid
Cast: Lætitia Dosch, Sergueï Polunin, Lou-Teymour Thion, Caroline Ducey, Grégoire Colin

What begins as a night of passion in Porto, develops into an intense love affair back in Paris for single mother Hélène and the married Alexandre. Hélène increasingly finds herself counting the minutes until her next short but intense meeting with the mysterious man. Her secret affair gradually develops into an obsession that puts both her and her son in danger. An erotic drama about an amour fou.

I CARRY YOU WITH ME

Swiss premiere
Drama
USA, Mexico, 2020
Director: Heidi Ewing
Cast: Armando Espitia, Christian Vázquez, Michelle Rodríguez, Ángeles Cruz, Raúl Briones

The Mexican dishwasher Iván dreams of becoming a chef. Although he’s no longer together with his ex-girlfriend, he continues to support her and their son. In order to forget his woes, Iván visits a secret club, where he meets and is immediately attracted to Gerardo. This is a problem, however, because a homosexual relationship would mean fatal consequences for his status as a father in Mexico. In the hope of a better life, Iván emigrates illegally to the USA and promises himself that he will one day be reunited with his son and the love of his life, Gerardo. I CARRY YOU WITH ME uses both re-enactment and documentary sequences to deliver a stirring life and love story about two real-life male characters.

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