A Film by Gitta Gsell



Louis Moholo
Maggie Nicols
Joëlle Leandre
Pierre Favre
Co Streiff
Han Bennink
Fred Anderson
Hamid Drake
La Lupa
Jürg Wickihalder

75 Min / 16:9 / PAL / Original Version: Swiss German, German, English
Subtitles: German, English, French, Spanish
1. Jazzfestival Willisau 2004: Irène Schweizer, Fred Anderson, Hamid Drake (22’00)
2. Moods Zürich 2003: Irène Schweizer, Han Bennink (34’00)

Buch & Regie: Gitta Gsell
Kamera: Hansueli Schenkel
Montage: Kamal Musale, Gitta Gsell
Musikalische Beratung: Juliana Müller
Ton: Dieter Meyer, Sprecher: Gilles Tschudi, Sound Design: Christian Beusch
Produced by Franzika Reck. Reck Filmproduction Zürich.
Coproduced by Intakt Records
Intakt DVD 121 / 2006

DVD Price: 35 SFr plus postage 8 SFr. Europe / 10 SFr. USA, Japan. (VISA/MASTER)
Deutschland/Österreich: 22 Euro plus 5 Euro Versandkosten. (Lieferung mit Rechnung und Zahlschein)

Please click here to order





Les Diaboliques Joëlle Léandre, Irène Schweizer, Maggie Nicols, Uncool, Le Prese
Irène Schweizer, South Africa
Irène Schweizer, Han Bennink, Moods Zürich

Musik ist ihr Leben, das wusste Irène Schweizer schon als Zwölfjährige. Das sensible Filmporträt von Gitta Gsell zeigt die eigenwillige, vielfältige, international bekannte Jazzmusikerin aus der Schweiz, die aktiv an den grossen politisch-kulturellen Veränderungen der letzten 50 Jahre teilgenommen hat.


Music is and always has been Irene Schweizer’s whole life. In her film, Gsell gets some rare one-to-one time with the internationally renowned Swiss pianist Irène Schweizer, whose music has roots in Jazz and improvisational music. The film gives a fascinating insight into the life of a great artist.


Il est là, le fidèle compagnon d’Irène Schweizer depuis plus de 40 ans, celui qui partage ses joies et ses peines, qui l’inspire et qui lui permet de vivre ses rêves: son piano. Depuis toujours, c’est la musique qui lui fait connaître les sommets de la béatitude, même si celle-ci est parfois suivie de moments d’extrême solitude.



Irène Schweizer – a Film Portrait
There it stands – the grand piano – waiting for her. For a woman who has referred to the piano as her companion for over 40 years, has shared happiness and sadness with it, was inspired by it and who has lived this inspiration to the fullest with it. Seldom has she had an affair with another – and if so, then with the drums. Friendships and relationships “played second fiddle” to music, were cultivated between appointments abroad, rehearsals, somewhere between inspiration and creation. It was always music that inspired her to soar to the heights, sometimes followed by the deepest sense of loneliness. Music was and is her life.
I’m not exactly sure when I heard Irène play for the first time. I only remember how delighted and enthusiastic I was. In the Swiss Jazz scene, she is an exception – as an instrumentalist. In the Fifties women were mainly singers, but even as a young woman, Irène had already been awarded first prize as a pianist at the Amateur Jazz Festival in Zurich. The atmosphere in the smoky Jazz locales of the Fifties and Sixties, the political change in the air in ’68 and the Women’s Lib Movement in the Eighties fascinated me. Irène improvised on the piano: elbows hammering and dragging along the keys, fingers pecking and darting over them. Pulling and plucking the strings inside the piano.
With a biography and an alternative lifestyle like hers, Irene is an exception in Switzerland. As a woman working in a creative area myself, she both interested me and inspired me to make this film. A good ten years older than I am, she is for me a forerunner of the Women’s Liberation Movement and one of the very few female figures in the Swiss creative scene – 63 years old, with her musical roots in Jazz and, in the meantime, avidly involved in and internationally renowned for her Instant Composing and her improvised music.
Gitta Gsell

Gitta Gsell, born in 1953 in Zurich.
1979-89 resided in New York; has lived in Zurich since 1990.
1977-79 Attended the F+F, Schule für Experimentelle Gestaltung, in Zurich.
1980-82 School of Visual Arts, New York, Bachelor of Fine Arts.
1982-84 Hunter College, New York, Master of Fine Arts in Combined Media.
Since 1977 scripts and direction of theatre and performances
Since 1981 screenplays and direction of films and videos.Filmography
1981 Goodbye (experimental film)
1984 A.R.T. (documentary)
1985 Immer diese Ewigkeit (music film)
1987 Don't Stand on the Ocean (feature)
1990 Cornelia Forster – Künstlerin (documentary) / Perception/Tension (music film)
1994 Uma passagem/Umgezogen (documentary video)
1995 Lilu in der Tanzbar (short film)
1997 Propellerblume (feature)
1999 Virus-L (short film)
2004 Lilo & Fredi (feature) / augenblickeN (documentary video)
2005 Irène Schweizer (documentary)


To Irène Schweizer: All Intakt CDs

Biografische Angabe

Intakt: home