© Alamode Film/Filmagentinnen

Die Goldenen Jahre (Golden Years)
Switzerland 2022

Opening 17 Nov 2022

Directed by: Barbara Kulcsar
Writing credits: Petra Biondina Volpe
Principal actors: Esther Gemsch, Stefan Kurt, Gundi Ellert, Isabelle Barth, Ueli Jäggi

Alice (Esther Gemsch) and Peter (Stefan Kurt) Waldvogel have retired after 37 years. This new time for togetherness should present opportunities to solve some of their problems within the relationship. Alice enjoys fine food and drink in the company of others. Peter’s main interest is health and sport: running and bicycling. What better way to exchange opinions, than to share a cruise through the Mediterranean Sea – a present from their children. However, Peter invites friend Heinz (Ueli Jäggi) to come along. He sympathizes with Heinz, whose wife Magali has died, leaving him a widower. Alice snitches a stack of letters sent to Magali from her secret lover in France, an affair that lasted 15 years. Should Alice share this news with Heinz? Alice is unhappy that their cruise has turned into a threesome and when the boat lands at Marseille, she does not reboard. Peter and Heinz have no choice but to continue without her and arrive back home in Switzerland. Now Alice is truly free; she decides to locate Magali’s secret French lover: Claude. She meets a travelling couple who offer her a ride in their trailer.

The title translates to “The Golden Years,” a term that people began using in the late 1950s to describe the time of life spent after retirement. We have a chance to experience “elderly” actors over the age of 60, including Esther Gemsch and Stefan Kurt. Their arguments are not just typical of “old age,” but mirror life in every generation, as their daughter and son-in-law have similar complications and disputes. Naturally, we hear the quote “Growing old is not for cowards” (Alt werden ist nicht für Feiglinge), which has an uncertain origin. Another wannabe friend and nurse is Michi (Gundi Ellert), whose capabilities will be required. There are a few surprises along the way, but the plot is actually not that unusual, could even work for adolescents. Die goldene Jahre premiered at the 2022 Zurich Film Festival and first played in Germany at the Filmfest Hamburg. (Becky Tan)

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