The Zurich Film Festival has begun with some of Switzerland’s top cultural and political figures attending, including outgoing minister Moritz Leuenberger.
The 11-day festival lasts until October 3 and will screen some 70 films and highlight young talent, particular in German-speaking cinema. This year the Czech director Milos Forman will receive a tribute for his life’s work.
Michael Douglas, who stars in Oliver Stone’s new thriller about banker greed, Wall Street: Money Never Sleeps, will receive the festival’s Golden Icon award. The American actor who plays the ruthless investor Gordon Gekko is currently battling cancer. His friend, fellow actor Danny DeVito, is scheduled to accept the prize on Douglas’s behalf.
Celebrities were given no red carpet to walk down at the festival. Rather organisers used a green one to draw attention to environmental issues. Those who walked down it included the Swiss People’s Party strategist Christoph Blocher and Swiss director Michael Steiner, whose mystery-thriller film Sennentuntschi opened the festival.
One year ago the film festival made international headlines after Zurich police acted on a United States warrant and arrested director Roman Polanski who’d come to accept a lifetime achievement award. Polanski spent some ten months locked up, mostly under house arrest in Gstaad, before being freed.
In his opening remarks, Leuenberger made a reference to the incident when he joked that he accepted the festival’s invitation only hesitantly since guests of honour can “sometimes [land] in the wrong film”. He quipped he’s under house arrest anyway.
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