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Fredi Murer's 35 words

Posted at 4:09 PM on May 7, 2007 by Euan Kerr

Swiss director Fredi Murer dropped by on Friday to talk about his new movie "Vitus." We spent a certain amount of time making sure we had the pronunciations right: "MOO-rir," and "VEE-toos."

Being Swiss Murer grew up speaking several languages: Swiss-German, French, Italian, and English. He claimed that he only knows 35 words in English, and his trick was to just use them in different combinations during interviews. However it turned out he knew a few more than 35, and we had a fascinating chat for half an hour.

"Vitus" is a story about a child prodigy, called Vitus, who is a skilled mathematician, and a concert pianist. While he is smarter and more capable than most adults, Vitus realizes his talents are depriving of a gift he took for granted: his childhood. He then comes up with ways of dealing with the pressures of fame and overbearing parents. It's a charming tale, made all the more fascinating by the fact that Murer found not one, but two young piano prodigies who play beautifully during the film.

Murer admitted that he enjoyed making this film because he struggled as a young student because of dyslexia. But he dreamed of being a great pianist and a top flight student.

This is a real case of delayed gratification because he is now in his late 60's, but he's delighted by the film and the warm reception it has received around Europe. Later this year it will be the first Swiss film ever released in China, another thing which delights him.

And he told me all this with just about 35 words.

May 2007
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