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Machine Gun Kelly in Taurus
Machine Gun Kelly in Taurus

Rapper Machine Gun Kelly presents the drama Taurus, in which he himself embodies a music star, and executive producer Roland Emmerich’s team will present the world premiere of the modern Mozart film adaptation The Magic Flute in the new “Sounds” section of the 18th Zurich Film Festival (Sept 22 – Oct 2) screening music films and events with musicians.

“The ZFF has been involved for years now in the promotion of film music through, for example, the International Film Music Competition, SoundTrack_Zurich – a congress that allows composers to network and exchange ideas, and with the Award Night, where renowned musicians have been performing for years”, explains Christian Jungen, Artistic Director of the Zurich Film Festival. “As a reaction to a strong trend in the film industry, we are now expanding our engagement in the field of music with the “Sounds” section. The boom in films and documentaries about bands and musicians can be said to have begun with Bohemian Rhapsody, the hugely successful production about Queen frontman Freddie Mercury. We show a selection in this new section of the most artistically valuable.”

Noteworthy highlights are the two world premieres of the German films The Magic Flute by director Florian Sigl and executive producer Roland Emmerich, and CAN And Me by Michael P. Aust. With its fantasy elements, The Magic Flute is a modern Mozart-meets-Harry-Potter type adaptation of the classic opera “The Magic Flute”. CAN And Me is the documentary portrait of Irmin Schmidt, who shot to world stardom with the Cologne band CAN, and composed the music for many of Wim Wenders’ films.

Another highlight will be the screening of Taurus, which stars American rapper, songwriter and singer Machine Gun Kelly alongside his fiancée Megan Fox. The superstar, with over 16 million followers on Instagram, is expected on the green carpet on Thursday, September 29. He will present the film to his fans in person before heading to his concert at the Hallenstadion.

The “Sounds” program also features two special screenings in which films from other sections screen with a live commentary by their respective film music composer. The Danish psycho-horror Speak No Evil and Sönke Wortmann’s comedy Der Nachname, which celebrates its world premiere at the ZFF, have been chosen for this. SoundTrack_Zurich has established itself as a meeting place for the film music industry in just two years. This year, too, numerous events and discussion rounds are planned, for example a talk with Rachel Portman. In keeping with the spirit of film music, film composer and Oscar-winner Rachel Portman will be honored with the Career Achievement Award at the 18th ZFF. She will accept the award on September 29 at the “Cinema in Concert” gala event held at the Tonhalle. Portman also presides over the jury of the International Film Music Competition, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year.

Swiss Premiere
Semi-autobiographical drama
USA, 2022
Director: Tim Sutton
Composition: Machine Gun Kelly
Cast: Colson Baker, Maddie Hasson, Scoot McNairy, Megan Fox, Demetrius ‘Lil Meech‘ Flenory Jr., Naomi Wild

On stage, Cole is a celebrated rapper, but in his private life, the exhausted musician throws himself into a frenzy of wild excess. He leaves his little daughter hanging just like he does everybody else around him. In this semi-autobiographical drama, pop star and leading man Colson Baker, better known as Machine Gun Kelly, shows himself to the public as intimate and vulnerable as never before. Alongside co-star Megan Fox, he allows us to peer into the abysses of celebrity culture.

Swiss Premiere
UK, 2022
Director: Kathryn Ferguson
Composition: Irene Buckley, Linda Buckley
Protagonist: Sinéad O’Connor

As brilliantly as Sinéad O’Connor conquered the world with her music in the 1980s, the Irish singer was always controversial. From the shaved head, for many the epitome of devoid femininity, to the activist provocations she “allowed” herself as a woman. Filmmaker Kathryn Ferguson brings out the woman behind the media image and illuminates her phenomenal rise.

World Premiere
Germany, 2022
Director: Florian Sigl
Composition: Wolfgang A. Mozart / Martin Stock (Score)
Cast: Iwan Rheon, Jack Wolfe, F. Murray Abraham

As a gifted singer, 17-year-old Tim receives a scholarship to the legendary Mozart boarding school in Austria. There he discovers a centuries-old portal that whisks him away into the fantastical world of Mozart’s “The Magic Flute”. Here, as Prince Tamino, he must rescue Princess Pamina from the clutches of Sarastros night after night, while during the day, as Tim, he attempts to land the coveted lead role in the school’s annual performance – a magical movie experience!

Swiss Premiere
USA, Lebanon, 2022
Director: Rita Baghdadi
Composition: Para One
Protagonists: Shery Bechara, Lilas Mayassi

Sporting wild hair and leather boots the “Slave of Sirens” take to the stage. Lead singer Maya grabs the microphone and screams rebellious lyrics at the raging crowd. With its uncompromising sound, Beirut’s first female heavy metal band tries to smash every obstacle that stands in the way of young women in Lebanon. In this energetic documentary, we accompany the expressive female protagonists and discover the fascinating story of an up-and-coming band that reflects an entire generation.

World Premiere
Germany, 2022
Director: Michael P. Aust
Composition: Markus Aust
Protagonists: Irmin Schmidt, Hildegard Schmidt, Wim Wenders

In 1968, musician Irmin Schmidt and friends founded the avant-garde band “Can”, which achieved worldwide fame thanks to hits such as “Vitamin C” and “She Brings The Rain”. Due to their experimental sound and the non-existent hierarchies within the band, they were soon considered revolutionary and shaped generations of musicians. Presenting their music as an optical symphony, this documentary is an ode to the unconformity, spontaneity and vision of an extraordinary band.

Premiere in the German-language realm
France, Spain, 2022
Director: Juanjo Giménez
Composition: Domas Strupinskas
Cast: Marta Nieto, Miki Esparbé, Fran Lareu, Luisa Merelas, Cris Iglesias, Julius Cotter

Sound designer C. lives for her job. It hits her all the harder, then, when she begins to perceive sounds with a time delay. Her employer suspects a phase of psychological instability, but in addition to the pressures of work and her private problems, her condition seems to bring her closer to a realization – one that also promises to be her liberation. Director Juanjo Giménez Peña creates a fascinating acoustic film experience with finely tuned sound.

Live comment by Composer Helmut Zerlett

World Premiere
Germany, 2022
Director: Sönke Wortmann
Composition: Helmut Zerlett
Cast: Christoph Maria Herbst, Caroline Peters, Justus von Dohnányi, Florian David Fitz, Janina Uhse, Iris Berben

It should have been a harmonious reunion on Lanzarote, but no sooner do the couple Stephan and Elisabeth and the new parents Thomas and Anna arrive at the family home than new quarrels break out in the family. Elisabeth and Thomas can hardly believe it when their mother, Dorothea, announces that she and adopted son, René, are now married. Four years after DER VORNAME, director Sönke Wortmann returns to Zurich with the long-awaited sequel. DER NACHNAME is a delightfully wicked social comedy.

Live comment by composer Sune Kølster
Denmark, 2022
Director: Christian Tafdrup
Composition: Sune Kølster
Cast: Morten Burian, Sidsel Siem Koch, Fedja van Huêt

During a vacation in Tuscany, Danish couple Bjørn and Louise become friends with a Dutch family. A few months later, the two receive an unexpected invitation to spend the weekend together with daughter Agnes at their newfound friends’ place in Holland. The joy of the reunion, however, is short-lived. Bjørn and Louise soon realize that they should never have accepted the invitation. An uncompromising and bitterly fiendish arthouse horror that captivates from the very first scene.

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