Back to our catalogue

Dürrenmatt – A Love Story


2015, colour and b/w, DCP, 76 min., German

biopic chronicle literature

CATEGORY : Documentary
DOCUMENTARY CATEGORY : Art / Music / Literature / Culture, Portraits
COUNTRY: Switzerland
PRODUCTION : BUDGET : 366 000 euro


Verena Dürrenmatt, Peter Dürrenmatt, Ruth Dürrenmatt


Director : Screenplay : Sabine Gisiger
Cinematographer : Matthias Günter
Producers : Philip Delaquis


Zurich Film Festival 2015


DÜRRENMATT honors the man, thinker, author, and painter Friedrich Dürrenmatt with an intimate cinematic memorial.
The focus is on the hitherto unknown love story between Friedrich Dürrenmatt and his wife Lotti Dürrenmatt-Geissler, a close relationship that lasted for forty years. After Lotti’s death in 1983, Dürrenmatt suffered from a profound crisis, which he overcame with a new, great love.
Dürrenmatt was a man who liked thinking out loud, a man who claimed to always question anything, as he was always inspired by the good, the bad and crazy in the world. His sister Vroni Dürrenmatt (91) and his children Peter Dürrenmatt (66) and Ruth Dürrenmatt (66), who speak out publicly about their father for the first time, also knew his other side: for Dürrenmatt humor was the only way to establish distance to a world that he found difficult to bear and often only badly bore


Dürrenmatt – Eine Liebesgeschichte: Exploring the intimacy of an unusual Swiss man
by Giorgia Del Don, Сineuropa

To delve into Dürrenmatt’s private life, Gisiger opts for a multifaceted narrative in which the testimonies of the members of his family (his sister Verena, and his children Ruth and Peter), archive images and the voice-over that occasionally accompanies them (reading texts or poems…) create a patchwork of reality, with all of the elements superimposed on each other. The writer, the father, the husband and the brother live side by side in a continual coming and going, from intimacy to privacy. Dürrenmatt – Eine Liebesgeschichte has a great time moving us, then straight afterwards makes us laugh out loud, a tendency that matches up perfectly with the Dürrenmattian brand of poetry, a subtle blend of intellectualism and sensitivity, incarceration and freedom.

Gisiger manages to visually transcribe Dürrenmatt’s literature while striking a necessary balance between words and images. Such a difficult exercise requires her to know how to look beyond words, towards a meticulously concealed emotion, in order to bring to light a fascinating and mysterious character who we perhaps will never manage to fully understand.