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FILMS Switzerland

Sleepless in New York, new documentary by Christian Frei, soon on the big screen


- Christian Frei, a Swiss documentary filmmaker of international fame, has a new project, which is set to hit cinemas this April

Sleepless in New York, new documentary by Christian Frei, soon on the big screen

Christian Frei is considered one of today’s most innovative film and documentary makers and his latest endeavour, Sleepless in New York [+see also:
film review
interview: Christian Frei
film profile
, will certainly not do anything to change his reputation. Unlike his former films, like War Photographer (nominated for an Academy Award in 2002 in the documentary category) or The Giant Buddhas, which brought him to venture out into dangerous situations, his latest piece of work took him to the immense city of New York.

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What pushed the Swiss director to change his scenery so? Perhaps a will to experiment, a will to venture into unknown territories, which might seem less tumultuous but are instead more intimate and personal. As he puts it, New York is the perfect location to analyse devastating feelings tied to emotional break-ups; a city rich in creative stimulation, but also a trap for broken hearts who feel alienated in a egotistical society. One should not forget that the Big Apple is also considered the singles’ capital.

Sleepless in New York chronicles the paralysing anguish, which inevitably follows each love failure. As our Swiss director explains, this topic has never been seriously tackled – perhaps because it is considered futile or superficial. Christian Frei disagrees, and describes feelings tied to heartache as a universal feeling, which takes people back to their teenage years. The director immerses himself in the tormented nights of some of these broken hearts, dominated by contrasting emotions of pain and creativity. The film shines light on the difficult path his main characters walk as they head towards some kind of rebirth that may bring them new forms of happiness.

Beyond his documentaries, often nominated in international festivals (Space Tourist won the World Cinema Directing Award at Sundance), Christian Frei was also president between 2006 and 2009 of the commission for Swiss documentary filmmakers and from August 2010 of the Swiss Film Academy.

Sleepless in New York is being sold internationally by Films Transit International.

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(Translated from Italian)

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