‘The Woman King,’ ‘Bros,’ ‘The Son’ Among Gala Premieres at Zurich Film Festival

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The Zurich Film Festival has selected some of the year’s most anticipated auteur films and high-brow Hollywood movies in its Gala Premieres section. Among other films, the fest screens the European premieres of “The Woman King,” with Viola Davis, and “Bros” by Nicholas Stoller. It also plays “The Son” by Florian Zeller.

“Of the 145 films in this year’s festival program, we are able to show more than a quarter of them as world or European premieres – more than ever before in the festival’s history,” Christian Jungen, artistic director, says.

“We are particularly proud to be holding the European premieres of Gina Prince-Bythewood’s historical epic ‘The Woman King,’ in which Academy Award-winner Viola Davis leads an international Black cast, as well as the gay romantic comedy ‘Bros’ by Nicholas Stoller, who cast all LGBTQ+ actors for the film. These two movies are a testament to the diverse talent working in Hollywood cinema, and we are very excited to be bringing them to a European audience.”

This year will also see the return to Zurich of Florian Zeller, who presented his Academy-Award winning family drama “The Father” at the festival two years ago. He is now back in Zurich with “The Son,” a new family story starring Hugh Jackman, Laura Dern and Vanessa Kirby.

The complete program will be published on Thursday.

“The Son” (U.S.) Drama
Premiere in German-language territories
Director: Florian Zeller
Cast: Vanessa Kirby, Hugh Jackman, Anthony Hopkins
A few years after his parents’ divorce, 17-year-old Nicholas no longer wants to live with his mother. Instead, he moves in with his father, Peter, who lives with his new partner and their daughter. But Peter’s attempt to correct past mistakes threatens to put their father-and-son relationship under severe strain. After “The Father,” director Florian Zeller presents his next magisterially staged and highly emotional family story.

“The Woman King” (U.S.) Action-drama
European festival premiere
Director: Gina Prince-Bythewood
Cast: Viola Davis, Thuso Mbedu, Lashana Lynch, Sheila Atim, Hero Fiennes Tiffin, John Boyega
In the 19th century, the West African kingdom of Dahomey is threatened by European colonialists. To protect the population, General Nanisca leads the “Agojie” into the field, an all-female military regiment of fearless warriors. Their mission: To defeat the European aggressors and defend the honor of the kingdom. Inspired by true events, this historical epic tells the extraordinary story of the African female soldiers. A breath-taking, action-packed spectacle.

“Bros” (U.S.) Romantic comedy
European premiere
Director: Nicholas Stoller
Cast: Billy Eichner, Luke Macfarlane, TS Madison, Monica Raymund, Guillermo Díaz, Guy Branum and Amanda Bearse
Bobby is a funny, cynical podcaster from the LGBTQ+ community who works in a hip office in New York. To his friends, he pretends to live a happy single life. In reality, a turbulent workday and commitment issues get in the way of his happiness in love. But then Bobby meets the handsome Aaron. With its complete LGBTQ+ main cast, this romantic comedy by the successful director Nicholas Stoller marks a milestone in Hollywood.

“A Forgotten Man” (Switzerland) Political thriller
World premiere
Director: Laurent Nègre
Cast: Michael Neuenschwander, Manuela Biedermann, Clea Eden, Yann Philiponna
Spring 1945: Heinrich Zwygart, Swiss ambassador to Germany, flees bombed-out Berlin after eight years of service in the capital of the Reich. This is the end of a dreadful mandate, during which he had to make fatal compromises to preserve the neutrality and security of his country. He made it through the war, but will he survive peace?

“Dreamin’ Wild” (U.S.) Drama
Premiere in German-language territories
Director: Bill Pohlad
Cast: Casey Affleck, Noah Jupe, Walton Goggins, Zooey Deschanel, Beau Bridges, Jack Dylan Grazer, Chris Messina
In the 1970s, Donnie and Joe Emerson are living on their parents’ farm in the north-western U.S. dreaming of a big music career. In their self-built music studio, the brothers let their talent shine and release the pop-funk album “Dreamin’ Wild” – but the record goes unnoticed. Decades later, a music producer discovers their music and creates a second chance to realize their dreams. Based on the true story of the Emerson family, this is a heart-warming, feel-good movie starring Academy Award-winner Casey Affleck.

“No Bears” (Iran) Drama
Premiere in German-language territories
Director: Jafar Panahi
Cast: Jafar Panahi, Naser Hashemi, Vahid Mobaseri, Bakhtiar Panjei, Mina Kavani, Narjes Delaram
In his drama, Iranian director Jafar Panahi tells two love stories in which the lovers are in danger of failing due to inescapable obstacles and the mechanisms of power. The focus is on Panahi himself. He subtly weaves various narrative levels into a commentary on artistic, personal and political freedom. The drama has taken on an even more urgent relevance after Panahi was imprisoned by the Iranian judiciary in the summer of 2022.

“Corsage” (Austria, France, Germany) Drama
Swiss premiere
Director: Marie Kreutzer
Cast: Vicky Krieps, Florian Teichtmeister, Katharina Lorenz, Jeanne Werner, Alma Hasun, Manuel Rubey
She is a fashion icon and beauty symbol, and even at the side of her husband, Emperor Franz Joseph, everything revolves around Sissi. But as she grows older, she can no longer cope with the pressure of life in the public eye. Instead of having her corset tightened daily, the young empress decides to turn her back on the restrictive lifestyle of the Viennese court. A bold and timely reflection on the value of a women and her ability to take action in 19th-century Europe.

‘The Woman King,’ ‘Bros,’ ‘The Son’ Among Gala Premieres at Zurich Film Festival

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