Distance and Intimacy: Jacqueline Zünd’s Documentary Film Retrospective

Venue: Louis Koo Cinema, Hong Kong Arts Centre (Screenings) / Black Box Studio, Goethe-Institut Hongkong (14/F, Hong Kong Arts Centre) (Chat with Jacqueline) 
Date: 2021.01.01 - 2021.12.31
Price: Tickets will be available at URBTIX on 2021. 

Distance and Intimacy: Jacqueline Zünd’s Documentary Film Retrospective


Swiss documentarian Jacqueline Zünd frequents the distant but intimate lives of people from around the world – the insomniacs, the aged and the children – embracing their delights and disappointments, regrets and hopes, and other contrasting sensations. As these people wander along their paths of ritual, befittingly or misfittingly, they understand life anew with wisdom, dignity and vitality.

Zünd has been a critically acclaimed multi-award winning filmmaker since her debut. Her works have participated in prominent festivals including the Berlin (Germany), Locarno (Switzerland), Moscow (Russia) International Film Festivals, Visions du Réel (Nyon, Switzerland) and DOK Leipzig (Germany) amongst others.

Zünd will visit Hong Kong to chat with the audiences about her three own directorial works and bring two films that have influenced her filmmaking.


Where We Belong

Director: Jacqueline Zünd
Switzerland |2019| 78 mins | In French and German with English subtitles | DCP | Colour
Young Eyes Film Award, DOK Leipzig 2019
Zwierciadło Award for the Best Film on Psychology, Docs Against Gravity Film Festival (Warsaw) 2019
Nominated for Best Film (Crystal Bear) of Generation Kplus, Berlin International Film Festival 2019
My dear friend, what are you thinking of?
Parents split up and children are left behind with their thoughts. Siblings confide in each other’s intimate company, and the only children process thoughts and feelings in soliloquy. The film asks what it means to live in constant transition between homes and approaches five children’s realities, focusing on how fragile they are - but also how brave, smart, considerate and humourous their responses are to painfully real and volatile situations. What is important to them? What hurts them? What can they manage effortlessly? And what seems insurmountable? When non-nuclear families are still being regarded with curiosity and even stigmas, this film is a work of love, labour and openness for the children who are often neglected, and whose feelings are difficult to define.
Goodnight Nobody
Director: Jacqueline Zünd
Switzerland, Burkina Faso, China, Ukraine, USA |2010| 75 mins | In Chinese, French, English and Ukrainian with English subtitles | 35mm | Colour
Best Newcomer, Visions du Réel International Documentary Film Festival Nyon 2010

Honorary Mention, DOK Leipzig 2010
Grand Jury Award, Sebastopol Documentary Film Festival 2011
Best Music, Swiss Film Award 2011
A hypnotic journey through the night
They are awake while others are asleep - four insomniacs in Burkina Faso, Ukraine, America and China are forced to dream awake throughout long nights. "Once my work is finished, I sit down on the stage and look at the stars. Just me alone." Confronting their daytime realities by killing time in nocturnal solitary confinement, their minds dance to their own music unheard by others. Fragments of their souls float and sink in a vast sea of concentrated silence, embracing beauty, fears, fantasies and hopes. While sleeplessness is frustrating and debilitating, these insomniacs have also turned their sleeplessness into intimate enlightenments and delightful discoveries.
Almost There
Director: Jacqueline Zünd
Switzerland, Japan, Spain, USA, UK |2016| 80 mins | In English and Japanese with English subtitles | DCP | Colour
Best Film Editing, Swiss Film Award 2018
In Competition, International Documentary Film Festival in Amsterdam 2019
Nominated for Best Film of the Documentary Competition, Moscow International Film Festival 2017
Nominated for Best Documentary Film, Swiss Film Award 2018
Fear no fears  Back to basics
Unfettered in their autumn years, three men play out their heartfelt finales as the stage curtains of their lives close gradually and gracefully. They decide to embark on new journeys to discover the unknown sides of themselves, meandering through the subtle but curious wonders of life: Bob swaps his safe home for a campervan and tries to find the tough guy inside himself in the barren Californian desert. Drag queen and stand-up comedian Steve is fed up with England and makes amends with his past between the concrete towers of Benidorm, a Spanish city known for its beaches and nightlife. And Yamada rediscovers his smile by reading fairy tales to children in Tokyo. It is a stunning portrait of time, dignity and the transience of life, “If you start feeling sorry for yourself, you’ve lost the battle.”

Influences on Jacqueline

Director: Michael Glawogger
Austria, Switzerland | 1998 | 90 mins | In English, Russian, Spanish and Hindi with English subtitles | DCP | Colour
International Jury Award for Best Documentary, Sao Paulo International Film Festival 1998
Vienna Film Award, Vienna International Film Festival 1998
Golden Spire Award, San Francisco International Film Festival 1999
Best Documentary Feature, Vancouver International Film Festival 1999
Hard to watch but harder to turn away
Bombay, Mexico City, Moscow, New York - seductive yet repellent monsters. The contradiction insinuates itself into the daily lives of those who populate theses megacities. The film tells the stories of Modesto the chicken feet seller, Babu Khan the colour sifter, Nestor the rubbish collector, Cassandra the actress, Tony the hustler and other tough lives. Day in, day out, they all set about their struggle for survival with ingenuity, intelligence and dignity. And they all share the dream of a better life. This is a film about work, poverty, violence, love, sex and beauty.
Filmed on the fly with a distinctly liberated and daring frame of mind, Megacities is an unpredictable work that challenges easy moralisation and sparked frantic controversies upon its release. In the words of its director Michael Glawogger, "[T]he film shows things, but is not there to answer things." Love it or hate it, see it.
Sworn Virgin (Vergine Giurata)
Directed by: Laura Bispuri
Italy, Switzerland, Germany, Albania, Kosovo | 2015 | 87 mins | In Albanian and Italian with English subtitles | DCP | Colour
Firebird Award, Hong Kong International Film Festival 2015
Golden Gate New Directors Prize, San Francisco International Film Festival 2015
Best Film, Stockholm Film Festival 2015
Nominated for Best First Feature Award, Golden Berlin Bear and Teddy Best Feature Film, Berlin International Film Festival 2015
The free will of a sexual being
Hana was born in a remote Albanian village that is overshadowed by alpha males. To avoid the destiny of being a wife and a servant, she appeals to the 200-year-old Kanun law and takes an oath of eternal virginity to live as a man called Mark, but he is restricted from marriage, sex and parenthood. Years go by as Mark’s unrelenting woman stirs under men’s clothes, so he travels to Italy and visit his sister who has escaped from the village. As Mark comes across other bodies, he experiences the vertigo of profound femininity. Breaking the invisible prison, s/he is here and love is near.
Avoiding traps and clichés, subdued and intricate, Laura Bispuri’s debut feature has received praises from critics and audiences. The film is an exploration inside femininity told in its thousand folds and contradictory forms.

Tickets will be available at URBTIX on 2021.


Chat with Jacqueline: Reflecting the Inner State
Jacqueline Zünd talks about the process of how she transforms intimate human subjects into film.

About the director

Jacqueline Zünd was born in Zurich, Switzerland where she studied journalism at the Ringier School of Journalism. She then moved to London to study film at the London Filmschool. After her studies she worked two years for a pop culture program for Swiss National Television before moving to Rome where she lived in the Swiss Institute for two years. Back in Switzerland she started to work on her first feature length documentary.

Zünd has been a critically acclaimed multi-award winning filmmaker since her debut. Her works have participated in prominent festivals including the Berlin (Germany), Locarno (Switzerland), Moscow (Russia) International Film Festivals, Visions du Réel (Nyon, Switzerland) and DOK Leipzig (Germany) amongst others.

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 Co-Presenters: Hong Kong Arts Centre , Consulate General of Switzerland in Hong Kong and Swiss Films

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