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An international box office smash, filmed on location in the Swiss Alps, thisDove Foundation “Family Approved” live-action feature based on one of the best-selling children’s novels of all time, makes its U.S. debut on DVD and Digital April 4, 2017. The HEIDI DVD is available exclusively at Walmart.Orphan girl Heidi spends the happiest days of her childhood with her eccentric grandfather, Alpöhi (Ganz), cut off from the outside world in a simple cabin in the breathtaking Swiss mountains.
Together with her friend Peter, she tends to grandfather’s goats and enjoys freedom in the mountains to the fullest. But these carefree times come to an abrupt end when Heidi is whisked to Frankfurt by her Aunt Dete. The idea is for her to stay with the wealthy Sesemann family and be a playmate for his wheelchair-bound daughter Klara, under the supervision of the strict nanny, Fräulein Rottenmeier.
Although the two girls soon become close friends and Klara’s grandmother awakens a passion for books in Heidi while teaching her to read and write, young Heidi’s longing for her beloved mountains and her grandfather grows ever stronger.
Interview with screenwriter Petra Volpe
What, in your words, is the quintessence of this world-famous story?
I once read that Heidi opens the hearts of people right where goodness is located. I think the story contains a longing we all have: a child that is so pure, a child that can just be itself. That was a very important aspect for me when writing the screenplay. The contrasts are also incredibly powerful. On the one hand, we have this small, tender girl in her little shirt and on the other hand the old, grumpy Almöhi. Then we have a house in Germany that is like a corset into which the girl, who has come from the mountains and was so free, is forced. These massive contrasts in the story are something universal, which is why people still like reading the story to this day. And I would like to stress once again that for all these big contrasts there is no black and white, no good versus evil, not even with Johanna Spyri. There is always a “but” or another side. That is one great strength of the story.
The story is of great relevance. Particularly the idea that creating art, expressing oneself, communicating is more important than any belief systems. In my view it is important to encourage children to communicate with the world, to seek a language. That makes children strong and free. I also think that we live in a strangely hostile world today. Although there is an obsession with bodies, there is also a hostility to the wild, to being outside in the great outdoors. That is one of the best things for children.
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Do you remember watching HEIDI growing up?