The gala selection in Zurich showcases a mix of anticipated festival favorites and a couple of possible unexpected additions for this year.
Presented on Thursday, the gala premiere lineup for the Zurich Film Festival has been unveiled, featuring a selection of much-loved films from the 2023 festival circuit.
Included in this lineup is Todd Haynes’ emotive creation “May December,” which stars Natalie Portman and Julianne Moore, the psychological thriller “Eileen” helmed by director William Oldroyd and featuring Anne Hathaway and Thomasin McKenzie, and the French culinary romance “The Pot-Au-Feu” directed by Tran Anh Hung. “Eileen” received acclaim at Sundance, while both “May December” and “The Pot-Au-Feu” generated excitement at Cannes.
These films are all formidable contenders for the awards season, and the Zurich gala will also introduce “Nyad,” a world premiere in Toronto. “Nyad” delves into the real-life narrative of Diana Nyad, a long-distance swimmer who, at the age of 60, becomes consumed by the ambition to conquer a 110-mile swim from Cuba to Florida. The cast features Annette Bening as Nyad and Jodie Foster as her friend and coach Bonnie Stoll, with direction by Jimmy Chin and Elizabeth Chai Vasarhelyi.
Within Zurich’s gala lineup, three world premieres will shine: Kilian Riedhof’s “Stella. A Life.,” Hans Steinbichler’s “A Whole Life,” and Michael Noer’s “Birthday Girl.”
In “Stella,” Paula Beer, renowned for her roles in “Undine” and “Transit,” takes on the character of Stella Goldschlag, a Jewish girl navigating Nazi-era Berlin. Her narrow escape from deportation propels her into collaboration with the Gestapo. Hans Steinbichler’s “A Whole Life” delves into the 20th century’s tapestry through the life of orphan Andreas Egger, unfolding over 80 years marked by trials, turmoil, love, and conflict. The film features Stefan Górski, August Zirner, and Julia Franz Richter. Meanwhile, “Birthday Girl” presents Danish star Trine Dyrholm as Nanna, a mother whose idyllic plans for her daughter’s 18th birthday spiral into a nightmarish scenario.
Zurich Film Festival is poised to reveal its complete lineup on September 18th. The event itself is scheduled to take place from September 28th to October 8th, 2023.