Ticino Film Commission
30.07.2021 . Preview

MONTE VERITÀ: a film shot in Ticino for the Piazza Grande in the 74th Locarno Film Festival

The historical drama directed by Stefan Jäger, filmed in Ticino in 2020 with the support of the Ticino Film Commission, will have its world premiere in the Piazza Grande.

From 4 to 14 August, Locarno's Piazza Grande will once again light up its big screen. After a hybrid edition last year, the 74th edition promises to be full of films (203 films in all, 97 of which are world premieres) and new features, starting with the new artistic direction by Giona A. Nazzaro. This edition also marks the return of the general public to the theatres and the Piazza.


Among the films presented to the numerous spectators in the Piazza Grande is a film that was shot in Ticino in August 2020, in Valle Maggia, Val Bavona, Losone and Ascona with the support of regional Municipalities and Bodies. One year later, we are delighted to be able to attend the world premiere of the film in Locarno.


"Monte Verità - The Palace Where Freedom Existed" is a co-production between Switzerland, Austria and Germany. It tells a story set in Ascona on Monte Verità, where the famous naturalistic community developed at the beginning of the 20th century. The film deals with the theme of female emancipation in the social context of the times. The main character, Hanna Leitner, a young mother (the only fictional character in the film in which we find real people such as Hermann Hesse, Dr. Otto Gross, Isadora Duncan and the founder of the community and pioneer of women's rights, Ida Hofmann), runs away to Ascona to escape her bourgeois role and the oppression of her husband. Tormented by inner hurt, within the community of Monte Verità, in the midst of idyllic nature, Hanna discovers her passion for the art of photography, but above all she finds herself again.


The cast includes, among others, actors Maresi Riegner (as Hanna Leiter), Max Hubacher (as Dr. Otto Gross), Julia Jentsch (as Ida Hofmann),  Hannah Herzsprung (as Lotte Hattemer), Joel Basman Max Hubacher (as Dr. Otto Gross) Joel Basman and Philipp Hauß (as Anton Leitner).



1906. These are restless times; the mood of the community fluctuates between fears and hopes. In search of a new social pattern, a group of alternative types - including the young Hermann Hesse - creates an unconventional community on Monte Verità, in Canton Ticino. Together with their clothes, the "reformers" ("Lebensreform" is the name of the cultural movement that inspires them) drop the spiritual corset in which, according to them, society risks suffocating. Even the young Hanna Leitner, fleeing from her role as a bourgeois mother, comes to the natural idyll of Monte Verità. At the end of a difficult journey, amidst feelings of guilt for having abandoned her family and the gratifying sensation of finally taking control of her own life, Hanna not only discovers her passion for photography, but also the ability to express her own voice.



Statement by director Stefan Jäger


Monte Verità' was created in the same way as the people on that mountain at the time of its foundation around 1900: As a collective vision, free of constraints and believing in the power of creativity.


I tried to understand the inner and outer resistance that a woman must have experienced at that time if she wanted to go her own way. Knowing that we can only ever tell stories from our own perspective, I relied on the intelligence of our team to validate my point of view.


With 77% of women as department heads, perhaps we have succeeded in emphasising the positive change that is currently taking place in the world: Every gender and sexual orientation receives the respect it deserves. I hope that "Monte Verità" will inspire this spirit of openness and desire for freedom, just as the founders of Monte Verità exemplified then - in the world's first hippie commune.


Watch the official trailer:




The film is produced by tellfilm (Zurich) in co-production with RSI, Radiotelevisione svizzera, Coin Film (Germany), blue, KGP (Austria) and MMC Movies Köln (Germany) and will be distributed in cinemas by DCM Film Distribution from 26 August 2021.


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