Chris the Swiss

  • Anja Kofmel
  • Switzerland, Croatia, Germany, Finland
  • 2018
  • 90 min
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During the Yugoslav Wars, the body of Swiss war reporter Christian Würtenberg was found in Bosnia. The circumstances surrounding his death were suspicious to say the least: he had been strangled, and he was wearing the uniform of an international volunteer militia fighting against the Serbian army. At the time, Anja Kofmel was 10 years old and full of admiration for her courageous cousin. Twenty years after his death, she decides to find out what really happened.

In Zagreb, she meets eyewitnesses of the war and speaks to Chris’s former colleagues, adding her own recollections in voice-over. The sinister black-and-white animations that give vent to the emotions and impressions that Chris recorded in his notebook alternate with archive footage of contemporaneous news reports about the conflict. Did Chris choose to join the militia because he could no longer stand by and watch? Or was his transformation into a mercenary part of a plan for an undercover report? Besides the true-crime-style search for the facts surrounding Chris’s murder, this fascinating film offers an interesting perspective on war reporting. For how long can you remain an objective onlooker? And how can you know when it’s time to leave?

Credits

  • 90 min
  • color / black and white
  • DCP
Director
Anja Kofmel
Production
Samir for Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion
Co-production
Nukleus Film, ma.ja.de, IV Films
Cinematography
Simon Guy Fässler
Editing
Stefan Kälin
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