Six year old Vitus (Fabrizio Borsani) is a wunderkind. He plays the piano like a virtuoso and reads the encyclopedia for relaxation. His teachers feel stupid by comparison, and he has a crush on his young babysitter Isabel (Kristina Lykowa). His parents Helen (Julika Jenkins) and Leo (Urs Jucker) eagerly anticipate their son's brilliant future and are ambitious for him. But Vitus prefers to play in his eccentric grandfather's (Bruno Ganz) workshop, wishing for a normal childhood. At age 12, Vitus (Teo Gheorghiu) feels pressured and is at a crisis point, when he unexpectedly finds a way to change everything.
Review by Louise Keller:
I'd like to be someone else,' Teo Gheorghiu's 12 year old Vitus confides in his grandfather (Bruno Ganz), when asked what he would like to be when he grows up. Such is the problem of this child prodigy/boy genius, whose life becomes unbearable with nothing but his super IQ, virtuoso talent on the piano and ambitious parents to keep him company. Switzerland's 2006 Academy Award entry, Vitus (pronounced Veet-ous) is a wonderfully original and uplifting film that deals a surprising hand. The less you know about the storyline the better, but there are elements of a buddy movie, a super scam, and love story in this film about a 12 year old boy who has the smarts to make his dreams soar. The music is wonderful, too.
After a short prologue, we get a taste of life according to Vitus, aged 6. Played by the angelic-faced Fabrizio Borsani, we understand the pressure he is under as his parents show him off and make him play the piano like a performing seal. An outcast at kindergarten (his readings about global warming scare the kids), and school (he can't help but make a fool of his teachers), his only escape lies in his visits to his beloved grandfather, when he can potter in his carpentry workshop. It is this relationship between Ganz' grandfather and Vitus (now played by Teo Gheorghiu) that lies at the heart of the film, as they share their love of flying, playing chess and confiding their secrets.
The storyline takes a sharp and unexpected turn one rainy night, coinciding with the falling fortunes of Vitus' inventor father (Urs Jucker). Interwoven also, is the sweet relationship between Vitus and his would-be rock singer babysitter Isabel, (Kristina Lykowa, aged 12; Tamara Scarpellini, aged 19) on whom Vitus has a king size crush. Ganz gives a warm and wonderful performance, while virtuoso pianist Gheorghiu, is impressive in his acting debut, especially his piano-playing. Spoken in Swiss German and English, writer director Fredi M. Murer pushes all the buttons in this moving and memorable story that has no difficulty in taking off.
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CAST: Fabrizio Borsani, Teo Gheorgiu, Julika Jenkins, Urs Jucker, Bruno Ganz, Eleni Haupt, Kristina Lykowa, Tamara Scarpellini, Daniel Rohr, Norbert Schwientek, Heidy Forster, Daniel Fueter
PRODUCER: Christian Davi, Christof Neracher
DIRECTOR: Fredi M. Murer
SCRIPT: Fredi M. Murer, Peter Luisi, Lukas B. Suter
CINEMATOGRAPHER: Pio Corradi
EDITOR: Myriam Flury
MUSIC: Mario Beretta
RUNNING TIME: 120 minutes
AUSTRALIAN DISTRIBUTOR: Rialto
AUSTRALIAN RELEASE: September 27, 2007
RIVERSIDE SCREEN PREMIERES
A program of premiere screenings of new movies prior to their commercial release
on 6 consecutive Tuesdays, starts February 17, 2015 at Riverside Theatre,
Curated & presented by Andrew L. Urban, discussion to
follow with special guests. Briefing notes provided.