Films

The Reformer. Zwingli – A Life's Portrait

© Ascot Elite
© Ascot Elite


Feb. 8, 2020 at 1:30 PM
Castro Theatre, San Francisco

San Francisco Premiere

123 min. Switzerland, Germany (2019)
Swiss German and German w/ English subtitles

Director: Stefan Haupt
Starring: Max Simonischek, Anatole Taubman, Sarah Sophia Meyer, Charlotte Schwab, Stefan Kurt
Producers: Anne Walser, Mario Krebs
Screenwriter: Simone Schmid
Director of Photography: Michael Hammon
Editor: Kaya Inan
Production: C-FILMS AG, Eikon Film Südwest, SRF Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen, SRG SSR, 3sat Zürich, Teleclub AG
World Sales: Global Screen



The young priest Ulrich Zwingli makes waves with his increasing attacks on the Catholic Church's excesses. However, he almost triggers a civil war when he marries the young widow Anna and tries to end the prevailing system of fear and oppression. Like Luther and Calvin, Zwingli is one of the leading reformers of the Catholic Church. His revolutionary ideas focused on the church, but also didn't stop at the state, the military and society.

Award-winning director Stefan Haupt („The Circle“, „Elisabeth Kübler-Ross”, “Utopia Blues”) directs the gripping true story with historical accuracy and emotional depth. Maximilian Simonischek („Hindenburg: The Last Flight“, „Divine Order“) delivers a stunning performance as Zwingli - one of Europe’s most courageous, religious men. Also starring are Stefan Kurt (“Dreileben”) and Anatole Taubman (“Quantum of Solace”, “P.O.W.”, “Servants”).

Zurich in 1519. The young widow Anna is leading a meagre existence between fear of the Church and worries about her three children's future when the arrival of one man causes a stir in the city: the young priest Ulrich Zwingli takes up his new position at Zurich Cathedral and triggers heated discussions with his sermons against the abuses of the Catholic Church. He inspires hope instead of fear and oppression, and insists on education and charity. Zwingli's revolutionary ideas initially frighten Anna, but then a love affair quickly develops between the two. Zwingli's success becomes dangerous within a very short time. His ideas almost trigger a civil war, with a struggle for power and sovereignty beginning at the same time within the inner circles of the movement. Zwingli has to take some difficult decisions when the Catholic forces begin to form across Europe: is he ultimately prepared to die for the Reformation, thereby sacrificing his love?

The Reformer. Zwingli – A Life's Portrait screened at the Solothurn, Locarno, and Munich film festivals in 2019. It won Best Feature Film at the FIFHM Montréal 2019 (Historical Film Festival).

Special Thanks:

This special presentation is made possible through a collaboration with the Consulate General of Switzerland in San Francisco and the United Swiss Societies of Northern California Cultural Committee.