A Swiss Rebel

2000 | Activism / Biography/History / Documentary / Gender / Human Rights / Jewish / Lesbian / Mental Health / Parenting/Family / Photography / Racism / Social Issues / Women's Studies | 56m | Switzerland
Directors: Carole Bonstein

This first-ever documentary about Annemarie Schwarzenbach is the portrait of a woman from one of the biggest fortunes of Zurich—a family with open inclinations towards the Nazi order. A writer, journalist, and photographer, Schwarzenbach traveled the world denouncing European fascism and the exploitation of American workers.

A complex woman, she lead an unending quest for identity, struggled with drug addiction, and lived a bohemian life in Berlin in the twenties and thirties. Filmmaker Carole Bonstein reveals the fascinating story of a lesbian political radical, a romantic deceiver, and an adverturer who rejected her prescribed role in life. A model of courage? An eternally uprooted woman? Who was Annemarie Schwarzenbach? A Swiss Rebel looks at these questions and more.

Reviews and Awards

Special Prize for Outstanding Historical Research, Union Swiss Bank Jury Soleur Film Festival, Switzerland

Best Documentary, Bologna International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Best Documentary, Milano International Gay and Lesbian Film Festival

Audience Award, Best Documentary, Women’s Film Festival of Torino

Zainetto d’Oro, Women’s Film Festival of Torino

Best Documentary, Mix Brasil Festival of Sexual Diversities

“Highly Recommended … A Swiss Rebel is a moving tribute to a brilliant rising star and captures a fascinating period of history from a European perspective … Quite interdisciplinary in nature, this video is highly recommended for academic collections.” —Educational Media Reviews Online

“This film would be of interest for courses on gender and sexuality, on lesbian and gay history, and on Weimar or more broadly, Europe and European sexual cultures in the 1930s.” —Kathleen McHugh, Professor of English and Film, Television and Digital Media; Director, UCLA Center for the Study of Women