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Sarah Plays a Werewolf

// Presented as part of Filmatique's Swiss Films Series //

Exclusive Interview with Katharina Wyss

Spotlight on Sarah Plays a Werewolf



Katharina Wyss / 2016, Switzerland-Germany / Venice, Achtung Berlin, Atlantida, Film Comments Selects - Lincoln Center, Fribourg, IBAFF, Khanty-Mansiysk, Leipzig, Midnight Sun Finland, North Bend, São Paulo, Saarbrücken, Seville, Taipei, Zurich, Festival / 86'


Sarah is a solitary 17-year old girl. She struggles to connect with people, a reality her listless bourgeois family fails to understand. Sarah wishes she had a boyfriend, a friend, someone she can connect to. Instead, she struggles with depression, and perpetuating loop that only serves to isolate her further. Yet Sarah finds an outlet in her high school drama class— when she performs she becomes someone else entirely, another character able to give truth to her most hidden desires. But sublimation through art leads Sarah down a dangerous path to a secret only she can keep.


An expertly modulated study of the barriers between performance and life, brilliance and madness, Sarah Plays A Werewolf dissects mental illness and the rules of social decorum through the eyes of one radically rebellious young woman. Katharina Wyss' debut feature premiered at Venice's Settimana della Critica, Zurich, São Paulo, Seville, Film Comment Selects - Lincoln Center, Taipei; Saarbrücken, where it won Best Actress; Khanty-Mansiysk, where it won Best Film; and Achtung Berlin where it won Best Director.


"Berlin-based Katharina Wyss's heady debut feature centers on Sarah, a young woman channeling her powerful depth of feeling into the artistic and psychological outlet of theater. As the 17-year-old protagonist in a staid Swiss town, Loane Balthasar is unnervingly transparent, giving herself over to her character— and, like Sarah, 20 times more present than anyone around her. The film's title captures a life fraught with energy"

- Nicolas Rapold, Film Review, Film Comment Magazine