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Isa Hesse-Rabinovitch

The Movie Game

By Anka Schmid

Documentary – TV

52 min – Schweiz 2009

IL DOTTORE - A doctor for life


The Swiss film pioneer Isa Hesse-Rabinovitch (1917-2003) followed unconventional paths all her life. The daughter of Russian Jewish immigrants grew up in Zurich. She married one of Herman Hesse’s sons and had three children with him. Influenced by the artistic work of her parents, she worked first as an illustrator, then later as reporter and photographer, always determined to maintain her independence. At the age of fifty, she began to make films. Her very first experimental films brought her invitations to international film festivals and were extremely successful abroad. But in the male-dominated Swiss film scene of the Seventies, she had to fight for recognition of her lyrical work. Support for her playful, unconventional films was denied her. Nevertheless, Isa Hesse continued to experiment consistently, daring as a 67-year-old to try the new medium of video. She has left us with a manifold and timeless collection of film and video achievements.

Anka Schmid brings us closer to the person and personality of Isa Hesse-Rabinovitch in the same artistic style: playfully, she intertwines archive material, clips from the original works and interviews with companions – creating a shimmering and fascinating portrait of this extraordinary artist.


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