This movie is in at least two ways extraordinary for a Swiss movie: First, there is Sigfrit Steiner (1906-1988) in the main role. After having had a big number of smaller, albeit characteristic roles in Swiss movies (e.g. in "It happened in broad daylight", 1958), Steiner worked mostly in German and international movies, e.g. together with Richard Burton, Vanessa Redgrave or Max Von Sydow, and it was not before 1976, when Kurt Gloor cast him for the Swiss movie "Die Plötzliche Einsamkeit Des Konrad Steiner", when Swiss film makers started to remember him: the man with the face like a landscape and the characteristic St. Gallen dialect accent in foreign films.
Second, Kurt Gloor. Bad tongues say that Switzerland had since 1897 only two great film makers, the first names of both are "Kurt" (Kurt Früh: 1915-1979; Kurt Gloor: 1942-1997). In addition, Kurt Gloor studied with Kurt Früh directing and dramaturgy. However, while Früh sublimated mental processes into spiritual processes, Gloor was a type who had to go to the bitter end of everything that seemed unjust to him. And many things did. Besides the heart-braking story of the 75 years old shoemaker at Froschaugasse in Zurich who looses first his wife and then his workshop, Gloor treated various controversial subjects in his films, e.g. "The first days in the life of a Methadon-baby", "With one foot in the Beyond", or he showed the life of right-less foreign laborers in Switzerland who dwell 6 persons in 2 rooms. Very famous became his action during which he appeared one nice day with his whole film crew before the Federal Parliament Building. Gloor was a man of extraordinary talent and outstanding courage, but I also remember that day in 1997, shortly before my birthday, when the casket with him inside was carried out of my neighboring house. As it appeared, Gloor could not stand the enormous pressure on him anymore, he, who had believed in the revolutionary force of film. At that day, I thought: By filming only people who stand in the shadow-side of life, you cannot yourself stand in the sun; and nobody can stand his whole life in the shadow. Quite differently, "Konrad Steiner" is not a depressing movie, but rather a movie with an astonishing portion of hope, and it is full of unexpected non-schoolbook wisdom, like f.ex. when Steiner says to his half a century younger social working girlfriend: "Now, I understand, why we cannot life together: because we don't have the same future". However, if one listens very attentively, the movie is also full of bitter irony - and stands so in the best tradition of that strange crossing of Tragedy and Farce that is so characteristic for Swiss movies (and not only for the movies).
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