Each year, Zurich Film Festival deals in its «Hashtag» section with a hot topic that is also trending on social media. This year’s hashtag section screens films under the title #MyReligion. It deals with questions of faith, euphoria and modern deities.
Is God dead? Has modern society created new deities, religions and cults? What adorns the altars of modern times? Questions like these guide the 2022 ZFF audience through the «Hashtag» section, which, since its inception in 2018, has focused on a topic that has social media buzzing. Last year it was about sex, this year the spotlight is on religions and the many forms they take. «Whether in the U.S.A, Russia or the Middle East, we are seeing a comeback of religions», explains Christian Jungen, Artistic Director of the Zurich Film Festival. «This often leads to conflicts in coexistence within multicultural societies. That’s why this year we are concentrating our efforts on the topic of faith, its merits and its dark sides. But we are also highlighting the substitute religions that are out there now for secular people, such as the Tiktok cult.»
As part of an eight-film programme, #MyReligion aims to take a closer look at what faith and religion mean to people today. «We want to trace the various faiths, try to give them a social context,» says Jungen, adding, «We are not only concerned with historically evolved religions, but also with current ones that cause euphoria within our society and redraw the image of faith. Our screens will put the most diverse faiths in the beam of the projector and also illuminate them critically.»
In total, the «Hashtag» section contains eight selected works that deal with religions and deities in very different ways.
HONK FOR JESUS. SAVE YOUR SOUL.
Director: Adamma Ebo
Cast: Regina Hall, Sterling K. Brown, Nicole Beharie, Conphidance, Austin Crute
The Baptist megachurch of the swanky pastor couple had over a ten thousand members before it plunged into self-inflicted ruin. Now Lee-Curtis and his wife, Trinitie, are trying to put God back into perspective. A bitterly wicked satire that uses film-within-a-film elements and the divine work of Regina Hall and Sterling K. Brown in the lead roles to take this free church cult for a ride.
BOY FROM HEAVEN
Sweden, Egypt, 2022
Director: Tarik Saleh
Cast: Tawfeek Barhom, Fares Fares, Yunus Albayrak, Mohammad Bakri, Makram J. Khoury
For Adam, the son of a fisherman, a dream comes true when he receives a scholarship to the renowned Al-Azhar University in Cairo. But shortly after his arrival, the Grand Imam who heads the institution dies, and a power struggle erupts between the religious and political elite. Suddenly, the unassuming Adam finds himself in the middle of this showdown. A fascinating study about the corrupt link between political and religious power in modern Egypt.
EL REINO DE DIOS / THE REALM OF GOD
Director: Claudia Sainte-Luce
Cast: Diego Armando Lara Lagunes, Margarita Guevara González, Lizbeth Gabriela Nolasco Hernández, Michelle Martínez Hernández
Eight-year-old Neimar leads a modest life with his religious mother and grandmother in a small Mexican town. He enjoys nothing more than spending time with his sidekick Demi or with his beloved racehorses. Neimar is also busy preparing for his upcoming First Communion so that he can finally feel God – but how? When a stroke of fate knocks Neimar’s life sideways, he is forced with greater urgency to come to terms with his faith.
FIRE OF LOVE
Director: Sara Dosa
Protagonists: Miranda July, Katia Krafft, Maurice Krafft
Katia and Maurice love two things – each other and volcanoes. Driven by their smouldering fascination, the two geoscientists collect rock samples and hours of video footage on their travels. Filmmaker Sara Dosa stitches together the archival footage into a loving tribute to the two rock stars among French volcanologists. The stunning footage is shown in 4:3 format with commentary by artist Miranda July.
Israel, Belgium, 2022
Director: Orit Fouks Rotem
Cast: Dana Ivgy, Joanna Said, Amal Murkus, Ruth Landau, Yulia Tagil, Marlene Bajali
On the video course of the budding director Rona, nine women of Arab and Jewish origin come together to learn the basics of filmmaking. Sitting in a circle in front of the screen, they present short clips from their everyday lives and learn about their different circumstances. But as they reveal their innermost dreams and secrets, Rona begins to have doubts about their motives. A warm-hearted ode to the unifying power of art.
Brazil, France, 2021
Director: Anita Rocha Da Silveira
Cast: Mari Oliveira, Lara Tremouroux, Joana Medeiros, Felipe Frazão
21-year-old Mariana lives in a radical Christian community in Brazil, where she does her best to be a moral woman. At night, she and her friends express their religiosity in other ways: Masked, they hunt down and beat up less virtuous women. But then she encounters victims of her gang and her faith begins to waver. A parable about religion, politics and violence in modern Brazil in the form of a horror movie.
Director: Shalini Kantayya
Protagonists: Richard Cannon III, Spencer X, Feroza Aziz, Jason Zhang, Deja Foxx, Jessica Jaramillo
The videos on TikTok last no longer than a few seconds, but have the explosive power to make their users famous overnight. Feminist Deja Foxx, for example, loudly expresses her opinion in front of her community, while beatboxer Spencer X inspires millions of people with his art. In TIKTOK, BOOM, we dive with the help of numerous experts into the world of the video platform that is taking the market by storm and has the potential to change the world.
Mystery / adventure film
Director: Thomas Salvador
Cast: Thomas Salvador, Louise Bourgoin, Martine Chevallier
Pierre, a 40-year-old engineer, travels to Chamonix on business. Irresistibly drawn by the beauty of the Alps, he decides to leave his everyday life behind and set up a bivouac in the high mountains. One night he discovers a shifting luminescence in the darkness and sets out to get to the bottom of the mysterious phenomenon. LA MONTAGNE is a visually captivating story about a dropout who longs to lose himself in the mysticism of nature.