Oscars: Switzerland Selects 'Wolkenbruch' for International Feature Film Category


Michael Steiner’s romantic comedy, about a Swiss Orthodox Jew who falls in love with a “shiksa,” was a box office hit at home.

Switzerland has picked Michael Steiner’s romantic comedy Wolkenbruch to represent the country at next year's Oscars in the international feature film category.

Based on Thomas Meyer's best-selling novel, Wolkenbruch’s Wondrous Journey Into the Arms of a Shiksa, the film is set in Zurich's Orthodox Jewish community. Joel Basman plays Motti Wolkenbruch, a student who, much to the dismay of his Orthodox mother, falls head over heels for the beautiful shiksa, or non-Jewish woman, Laura (Noémie Schmidt).

Wolkenbruch premiered at last year's Zurich Film Festival, where Basman won the Swiss Film Award for best actor for his performance. The film was the number one local release in Switzerland in 2018, selling upward of 300,000 tickets in the country.

Netflix picked up worldwide rights outside of Switzerland and will bow the film on its platform later this year.

Zurich's Turnus Film produced Wolkenbruch in collaboration with DCM Pictures and SRF Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen.

Switzerland has been nominated five times for what used to be called the best foreign-language film Oscar and has twice won the Academy Award: in 1984 for Richard Dembo's Dangerous Moves and for Xavier Koller's Journey of Hope in 1990.

The 92nd Academy Awards are due to take place Feb. 9, 2020.