Portraits

(1991)
Edwin Beeler
Switzerland
79′
This documentary takes a multi-layered approach to Saint Nicholas of Flüe. Rare witness accounts and quotations from his transmitted mystical texts, in particular the vision of the tower and the fountain, paint a portrait of a multifaceted and historically significant personality. Restored version.
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Markus Raetz (2007)
Iwan Schumacher
Switzerland
75′
The Swiss artist Markus Raetz is an established figure in the international art world. For the film by Iwan Schumacher, the artist from Bern is for the first time giving a camera team an insight into his 40 years of work.
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Pepe Mujica - El presidente
Heidi Specogna
Germany
93′
A former resistance fighter who is elected president of Uruguay and donates almost 90 percent of his salary to social projects: Pepe Mujica, one of Latin America's most charismatic personalities, has become known as "the poorest president in the world". He has always remained true to his ideals, having spent many years in prison for political reasons. His modest lifestyle - he lives in a small finca instead of a government palace - and his unconventional appearance underpin his credibility with young and old. Pepe Mujica represents his concerns with humour, intellect and passion, and his political commitment to a more just society attracts international attention and encouragement. Filmmaker Heidi Specogna and her cameraman Rainer Hoffmann often visited Pepe Mujica and his wife Lucía Topolansky and accompanied them with their cameras. This is how the portrait of an extraordinary person was created, who, at almost 80 years of age, has retained his courage, his wit, his humanity and his strong hope for change. "Pepe Mujica - el presidente" is an optimistic and moving film that inspires courage.
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Urs Fischer
Iwan Schumacher
Switzerland
102′
The 36-year-old Swiss artist Urs Fischer, who lives in New York, has been enjoying international fame for some years now. This documentary follows him during the preparation of his exclusive exhibition in an American museum and thus takes us into the daily life and work of an artist.
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Amiet
Iwan Schumacher and Cornelia Strasse
Switzerland
52′
Cuno Amiet lived from 1868-1961, yet seen today many of his pictures have a contemporary edge. Amiet was a Swiss pioneer of modern painting along with Ferdinand Hodler and Giovanni Giacometti. The film visits three highly individual Amiet collectors in Dallas, Geneva and Studen, near Biel. Surrounded by Amiet’s works they tell us what part these paintings play in their lives.
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Beuys
Andres Veiel
Germany
107′
For the German artist Joseph Beuys, art was used for provocation and he wanted to "provoke" discussions with his works. He was a sculptor, performer and draftsman.
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Ken Bugul
Silvia Voser
Senegal
64′
Ken Bugul is a Senegalese writer who lives in Africa, where her soul is anchored. She has had an exceptional life. Silvia Voser’s film shows her as an iconic figure of the female condition and of relationships between Africa and the West. Ken Bugul is considered one of the most brilliant writers in Senegalese and French of these past decades. Over the years, thanks to her great command of the French language and the uncompromising care she takes with the wording of the meaning of Wolof vocabulary, her mother tongue, her novels have become absolute references in the realm of linguistic studies. "What you read in French in my novels is how we think and speak in Wolof in my village". Ken Bugul’s personal story is overshadowed by Africa’s turbulent history. She was born in 1947 in an isolated village in Senegal, at that time a French colony. Her father was 85 years old and her mother left them before Ken turned five. This was a fundamental event in Ken Bugul’s life. In spite of lacking a mother’s love, she was full of energy and a yearning for freedom, and she received an exceptional education for a village girl of that time. In 1971, she left for Europe to go to university and there she met people from the upper middle class and discovered new ideologies and liberties, modern art, drugs, alcohol, loneliness, incomprehension and disdain, and prostitution to relieve her need for affection. As she says in "The Abandoned Baobab": "For twenty years all I had learned was their thoughts and their emotions. I thought I’d have fun with them, but I ended up even more frustrated. I identified with them, but they didn’t identify with me." She came back to Senegal, a broken, lonely and penniless young woman. People thought she was crazy and she was rejected by her family and society. For two years, she slept in the streets of Dakar, hanging out with outcasts, beggars, prostitutes and artists. Dirty, hungry, almost naked, she started writing her first novel, "The Abandoned Baobab". Worn out, she decided to go back to her family. And there, in her mother’s village, she found refuge with the Serigne (marabout), a wise and much respected man. He took her as his 28th wife, enabling her to re-enter society, and he supported her in her desire to write and to be free. He died in 1981, a year before the publication of her first novel, "The Abandoned Baobab", which was an immediate success. Ken Bugul was invited to present her book all over the world. She met a doctor from Benin, married him and moved to that country, where she gave birth to their daughter Yasmina. Her husband passed away four years later. For the past thirty years, novel after novel, Ken Bugul has painted a picture of her life as a woman, of her loves, of the relationship between her continent and the West. "To write", she says, "is to dazzle the senses, and the senses are colourless." Silvia Voser leads us gently into the secret, tormented world of an artist whose writings show an understanding of the world that is rarely achieved.
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Chris the Swiss
Anja Kofmel
Switzerland
90′
Croatia, January 1992. In the midst of the Yugoslav Wars, Chris, a young Swiss journalist is found dead in mysterious circumstances. He was wearing the uniform of an international mercenary group. Anja Kofmel was his cousin. As a little girl, she used to admire this handsome young man; now a grown-up woman, she decides to investigate his story, trying to understand what really was the involvement of Chris in the conflict
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