In its new “Sounds” section, the 18th Zurich Film Festival (Sept 22 – Oct 2) screens music films and organises events with musicians. For example, before his concert at the Hallenstadion, US rapper Machine Gun Kelly is expected to present 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.
Students at film school learn early on that good sound is what makes a good film – and this is particularly true when it comes to film: 50 percent of the cinema experience is conveyed via the soundtrack, a fact that has been scientifically proven. This is not the only reason that the ZFF is creating a new programme section called “Sounds”, a sidebar that turns the spotlight on films and documentaries that are about musicians, have a musical theme or feature an outstanding soundtrack. “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 BOEHEMIAN 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” programme 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.
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.
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.
THE MAGIC FLUTE
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!
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.
CAN AND ME
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.
OUT OF SYNC / TRES
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 realisation – 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
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.
SPEAK NO EVIL
Live comment by composer Sune Kølster
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 realise that they should never have accepted the invitation. An uncompromising and bitterly fiendish arthouse horror that captivates from the very first scene.
New programme section “Sounds”
Newly created for the 18th Zurich Film Festival (Sept 22-Oct 2), the “Sounds” section celebrates the alternating relationship between music and film. The section screens feature films and documentaries that are about musicians, have a musical theme or feature an outstanding soundtrack. The aim is to make audiences more aware of the importance of music to the seventh art. The programme is complemented by two films that screen with a live commentary by their respective film composer.
Screening times from September 8 and tickets available from September 12
10 Years of Cinema in Concert
The “Cinema in Concert” gala event with the International Film Music Competition will be implemented for the tenth time by the Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich AG in collaboration with Forum Filmmusik at the Tonhalle Zurich on September 29, 2022.
SoundTrack_Zurich is a European film music congress that takes place during the Zurich Film Festival. SoundTrack_Zurich presents the work of Swiss and European film composers at eye level with their international colleagues. The two-day congress offers 30 panels, networking sessions, case studies, workshops and special screenings. SoundTrack_Zurich is organised by Forum Filmmusik in close collaboration with the Zurich Film Festival, SoundTrack_Cologne, Tonhalle-Gesellschaft Zürich, IMMSANE, ZHdK, Sonart, SUISA, SwissPerform, Swiss Music Export, SWAN and WiFT.
The next edition takes place from September 27-30, 2022.