Fredi Murer, a courtly gentleman given to performing deft sleight-of-hand for his interviewers, tapped his own childhood when he created VITUS, both the film and the character. Murer himself was not a genius in the classroom, as he tells it, but he did have a creative streak that landed him in all sorts of usual scrapes. When we talked on May 4, 2007, he reminisced about his childhood, the explorers that fired his imagination, the quest for the perfect boy wonder to play Vitus, and how the universe seemed to conspire to bring all the elements together for him to make his charming fable. The film stars Fabrizio Borsani, Bruno Ganz, Teo Gheorghiu. Murer directed from a script he co-wrote with Peter Luisi and Lukas B. Suter.
The secret life of children is fertile territory. The unsullied logic of those for whom preconceived notions and ossified received wisdom are phenomenon yet to come make for a piquant commentary on both. The innocence, the unrestrained emotion, and the intellect unfettered by the conventions of society are a potent combination in VITUS, a delightful Swiss import. It explores that territory from the point of view of its title character (doe-eyed Teo Gheorghiu), an 11-year-old mathematics and musical prodigy negotiating all too adult situations, from high-finance to first-love, with the single-minded, whole-hearted obsession that only the very young can muster without going mad.