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Michael Koch Delves Deep into the Alps for ‘A Piece of Sky’

Armin Dierolf

For his sophomore characteristic, “A Piece of Sky,” director Michael Koch ventured deep into the Swiss Alps to unravel the threads of a outstanding story that had haunted him for years. A story of love and violent passions, it had appeared virtually unattainable to simply accept at face worth, till Koch discovered himself confronted by the energy and majesty of nature in the distant, mountainous area. “In this landscape, you feel that there is something bigger that you cannot control,” he mentioned.

Based on real-life occasions, “A Piece of Sky” is the story of Anna and Marco, a pair who fall in love in a small Alpine village. Shortly after their wedding ceremony, Marco is recognized with a malignant mind tumor and more and more loses the capacity to manage his impulses. But whereas he grows violent and is even accused of sexually abusing Anna’s daughter, she decides to honor his final want and stick with him till his dying.

Koch first encountered the inconceivable story on the radio years in the past. It stayed with the Swiss native when he moved to Cologne, the place he studied movie and made his first characteristic, “Marija,” which had its world premiere in Locarno in 2016. Cutting his tooth in Cologne helped put together him for a second movie that may require the bodily and psychologically demanding work of immersing himself in the forbidding panorama of the Alps. “I thought I had to be more experienced as a director to handle this project,” he mentioned.

Koch spent months looking for the real-life Anna, in the end discovering her in a small mountain village and listening to her story firsthand. “I really had a feeling that it was her inner calmness, and her relation with nature, which I think allowed her to react differently to this illness of her husband than we might expect,” Koch mentioned.

His encounter together with her “was just the starting point.” The director started a interval of intensive analysis, befriending numerous villagers and delving deep into the area’s tradition and traditions with a purpose to write his script. “I try to be really precise and to find in this local environment the bigger [story],” he mentioned. Koch additionally selected to solid non-professional actors from the area, in the end spending three years laying the basis that may enable him to achieve their belief.

“With my first film, the approach was a documentary one,” Koch mentioned Wednesday throughout an internet presentation of upcoming tasks by new Swiss voices, hosted by Swiss Films and the TorinoFilmLab. “It was also the case with ‘A Piece of Sky,’ with the difference that maybe I gave more space to what I found. All the stories, the places, the people I met during the research for ‘A Piece of Sky’ became really important. It’s something that’s really the backbone of the story.”

The villagers’ characters had been formed by the dramatic panorama round them. They lived arduous lives in the fixed presence of dying, and Koch mentioned their tales “made a great impression” on him.

“At the end, nature has so much more power than you, and you are so small. This experience was really important,” he mentioned. “You also feel okay with it because you just feel that it’s not in your hands. Nature is so much stronger, and you are a little human being trying to do your best.”

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