In 1939, the author Annemarie Schwarzenbach and ethnologist Ella Maillart travel together by car to Kabul, but each is in pursuit of her own project. Annemarie Schwarzenbach, who was among Erika and Klaus Mann’s circle of friends in the 30’s, is searching for a place of refuge in the Near East to discover her own self. Ella Maillart justifies her restlessness, her need for movement and travel, with a scientific pretext: she would like to explore the mysterious Kafiristan Valley and “make a name” for herself with publications on the archaic life of the nomads living there. Both women are on the run, but political developments and their own biographies catch up with them again and again. Their mutual journey through the outside world, which runs from Geneva via the Balkans and Turkey to Persia, is compounded by the inner world of emotions with a tender love story. As both women arrive in Kabul, the Second World War breaks out and puts an end to their plans.
Une Suisse rebelle, Annemarie Schwarzenbach 1908-1942
Using archive material that is being made public for the first time this film is the first to ever attempt to portray the life of Annemarie Schwarzenbach, scion of a wealthy Zurich industrial family that made no attempt to disguise its sympathies for the Nazi world order. Author, journalist and news photographer, Annemarie Schwarzenbach rebelled against this environment. Escaping from Switzerland and from reality, she travelled the world denouncing Europe’s fascist movements, and America’s exploitation of its workers.