Stefanie's Present DVD
"Sweet, 12 year-old Stefanie, played by child model Soraya Da Mota, dreams of attacking her parents with a flail. Not because they treat her particularly badly, you understand, but because, like any right minded-adolescent, Stefanie is rebelling against normality. As she escapes into a fantasy world, the boundaries between dream and reality blur until, real or not, Stefanie's dad gets one hell of a birthday present." - IMDB
"Occasionally malignant and always very original black & white film about the delusion and reality of twelve-year-old Stephanie (an amazing role by Siraya Da Mota). Stephanie has problems - at school and with her parents - that go considerably further than adolescent whimsy. She has very confusing sexual and violent fantasies that increasingly dominate her. She sees herself murder her parents with the gruesome medieval weapon that, with beautiful irony, is known in German as Morgenstern. The boundary between dream and reality starts to disappear slowly. Stephanie dreams in turn that she is a baby (who is kidnapped and killed) or a seductive Lolita (who is raped by the youthful killer Marc). She yearns for suicide and allows herself in her delusion (or is it reality?) to be poisoned by two strange old downstairs neighbours. Film-maker Mathieu Seiler has made a strikingly accurate evocation of the desperate world of feelings of a young girl. He explains it partly through his own age - he was only nineteen when he wrote the script and twenty when he shot the film. He still feels close to the difficult inner world of an adolescent. Reward for his own departure from adolescence for Seiler was that his father worked on the set of the film. Where many contemporary film-makers avoid profound psychology and metaphors, Seiler deliberately chose this risky course, and intelligently too." - The Internet
"'It's left to the audience to decide what is real and what is dream,' says producer Andi Huber of Zurich-based Klusfilm Productions. "There are no haze filters or wavy effects; all the cuts are hard and sharp so everything seems real. Stefanie even sees life after death as real, as a freedom."
Shot on location in Zurich last year, the $US 364,000 black and white feature is Swiss director Mathieu Seiler's professional debut. Financed by Seiler himself, with assistance from Condor Films and Swiss producer/exhibitor Edi A Stöckli, it previewed at San Sebastian last year.
Highlighting the Prague Festival's growing international reputation, Huber believes the film's "art-house plus action" style will make it popular with foreign audiences. Either way, Stefanie's Present proves that the supposedly reserved Swiss have a very dark side indeed." - The Internet