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Dark Fortune (Finsteres Glück)

Acclaimed Swiss director Stefan Haupt ('The Circle,' 'Sagrada, The Mystery of Creation') worked with his actress wife Eleni Haupt on this prize-winning literary adaptation about the aftershocks of a family tragedy.

The Embassies of Austria, Germany and Switzerland present....

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Sponsored by The Waterloo Centre for German Studies.

Generously Supported by the Switzerland Embassy

“Writer-director Stefan Haupt ’s Dark Fortune is a measured, dutiful adaptation of Lukas Hartmann’s 2011 novel about a tragedy that devastates one family and shakes up another. The material may be somber but the characters are engaging, the performances strong and the overall treatment elegant.

“On the day of a solar eclipse, tragedy strikes a Swiss family during a road trip from Zurich to the French border region of Alsace. In the midst of a heated argument, which Haupt only conveys in teasingly impressionistic terms, their car crashes in a mountain tunnel. Four out of five family members are killed, including both parents. Only the youngest son survives, 8-year-old Yves, impressively played by moon-faced cherub Noe Ricklin.

“Later that night, psychologist Eliane Hess receives an emergency summons to visit Yves in hospital. As she struggles to break the shock news, the boy's aunt and grandmother arrive to stake rival claims on custody. The family’s conflicted history becomes a battleground, with ominous hints that the father was violently abusive, and may even have deliberately crashed the car in a vengeful murder-suicide plot.

“Meanwhile, Eliane develops a deepening maternal bond with Yves, moving him into her suburban home for a few weeks while the custody case is settled. The boy’s arrival exacerbates long-running antagonism between the psychologist and her two daughters.

“Studiously avoiding melodrama, Dark Fortune slowly accumulates real emotional force as a nuanced rumination on guilt and grief, love and mercy. A classy and engrossing package overall, Dark Fortune reels viewers in with slow-burn suspense and psychological complexity. On a more niche-interest note, casual students of the German language may also enjoy the ripe, slang-heavy, thickly accented dialect deployed by Alice and her teenage pals, which lends the film a distinctly Swiss flavor.” - Hollywood Reporter

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