It's Just A Phase, Honey Bunny

Source: Majestic/ Bernd Spauke

‘It’s Just A Phase, Honey’

Fourteen world premieres will screen as part of the programme for the 17th Zurich International Film Festival (ZFF), which will take place in person in Switzerland from September 23 to October 3.

All 14 of the titles debuting at the festival are of either Swiss, German or Austrian production heritage.

Scroll down for the full competition selection

Included among them are German director Florian Gallenberger’s It’s Just A Phase, Honey, about a couple approaching 50 years old who have grown apart emotionally and physically. Gallenberger won the Oscar for best live action short film for I Want To Be… in 2001; his latest will play as a Gala Premiere in Zurich.

Also debuting in Zurich is Second Thoughts, the debut feature of German filmmaker Zora Rux, who has previously worked as a casting director on Roy Andersson’s A Pigeon Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence and About Endlessness. Playing in the Focus Competition, Second Thoughts is a surreal story about a woman who is overwhelmed by her boyfriend’s proposal, so escapes to the countryside, where her thoughts begin to take human form.

The festival will present an honorary award to US writer-director Paul Schrader, with his latest film The Card Counter playing at the event following its world premiere in Venice last week. US actor Sharon Stone will also receive the festival’s Golden Icon honorary prize, alongside a screening of Martin Scorsese’s 1995 Casino in which she stars.

The festival’s A Tribute to… award goes to Italian director Paolo Sorrentino, with a retrospective of 10 of his films on the programme, plus his latest work The Hand of God playing as a Gala Premiere.

The festival previously announced an exclusive screening of the latest James Bond film No Time To Die on September 28, the same day as the film’s world premiere in London. The Zurich screening will begin ‘shortly after the start’ of the London premiere, in the city’s newly-refurbished 1,300-seat Zurich Convention Center. It is the first time a James Bond film has played in the official selection of a major film festival; Zurich will also screen Daniel Craig’s four previous outings as James Bond, as well as Being James Bond, a documentary about the actor’s journey in the iconic role.

The world premiere of Michael Steiner’s And Tomorrow We Will Be Dead was previously announced as the festival’s opening film, playing as a Gala premiere.

Festival hits

The 35-title Gala programme also includes Venice selections Spencer by Pablo Larrain, The Lost Daughter by Maggie Gyllenhaal and The Power Of The Dog by Jane Campion; plus Cannes titles The French Dispatch from Wes Anderson, Red Rocket by Sean Baker and The Velvet Underground from Todd Haynes.

“The fact that we were able to secure so many high-profile Gala Premieres is no coincidence,” said Zurich’s artistic director Christian Jungen. “Hollywood producers have recognised that ZFF, the largest autumn festival in the German-speaking world, offers the perfect platform to position films for the Oscars. Five of the last 10 best picture winners screened at ZFF.”

The festival will also put a spotlight on Tunisia via 14 titles in the New World View section, including Kaouther Ben Hania’s Oscar 2021 best international feature nominee The Man Who Sold His Skin. It is the first time an African nation has been selected as a guest country at the event.

38 films will compete across the Focus, Feature Film and Documentary Film sections. Sidebars at the event include the ‘Hashtag’ section, with an eight-film programme titled #letSEXplore, looking at desire on screen.

Zurich Film Festival 2021 competitions


Feature Film Competition

A Chiara (It-Fr-Swe-Den) dir. Jonas Carpignano

Aloners (S Kor) dir. Sung-eun Hong

Ballad of a White Cow (Iran-Fr) dirs. Behtash Sanaeeha, Maryam Moghaddam

Boiling Point (UK) dir. Philip Barantini

Carajita (Dom Rep-Arg) dirs. Silvina Schnicer, Ulises Porra Guardiola

Jockey (US) dir. Clint Bentley

Lamb (Ice-Swe-Pol-US) dir. Valdimar Johannsson

Mass (US) dir. Fran Kranz

Miracle (Rom-Cze-Lat) dir. Bogdan George Apetri

Ninjababy (Nor) dir. Yngvild Sve Flikke

Noche de fuego (Mex-Ger-Braz-Swi-US-Arg) dir. Tatiano Huezo

Softie (Fr) dir. Samuel Theis

Silent Land (Pol-It-Cze) dir. Aga Woszcynska

Unclenching the Fists (Rus) dir. Kira Kovalenko

Documentary Competition

A Cop Movie (Mex) dir. Alonso Ruizpalacios

All These Sons (US) dirs. Bing Liu, Joshua Altman

All-In (Bel-Neth-Fr) dir. Volkan Uce

Ascension (US) dir. Jessica Kingdon

From the Wild Sea (Den) dir. Robin Petre

Invisible Demons (Ind-US-Fin-Ger) dir. Rahul Jain

The Velvet Queen (Fr) dir. Marie Amiguet, Vincent Munier

Life of Ivanna (Rus-Nor-Fin-Est) dir. Renato Borrayo Serrano

President (Den-US-Nor) dir. Camilla Nielsson

Sabaya (Swe) dir. Hogir Hirori

Soy Libre (Fr-Bel) dir. Laure Portier

The Real Charlie Chaplin (UK) dirs. Peter Middleton, James Spinney

Focus Competition

Azor (Swi-Fr-Arg) dir. Andreas Fontana

Beyond the White (Ger) dir. Evgeny Kalachikhin  (world premiere)

Everything Will Change (Ger-Neth) dir. Marten Persiel

Great Freedom (Austria-Ger) dir. Sebastian Meise

Behind the Headlines (Ger) dir. Daniel Andreas Sager

Second Thoughts (Ger) dir. Zora Rux (world premiere)

The Fam (Swi) dir. Fred Baillif

Love Will Come Later (Swi) dir. Julia Furer (world premiere)

Momentum (Swi) dir. Edwin Charmillot (world premiere)

Monday um Zehn (Ger-Swi) dir. Marielle Klein

Room Without a View (Austria-Ger) dir. Roser Corella

Youth Topia (Swi-Ger) dir. Dennis Stormer (world premiere)