Following the Second World War and impoverishment of her family, the young Katharina sets off alone to travel the world – with no money but with her ukulele and sketching crayons. In the days before mass tourism the sight of the "hitch-hiking Swiss Miss" (Los Angeles Times) creates something of a sensation. On her return to Switzerland, she writes her best-selling book "Nehmt mich bitte mit" (Please take me with you) but soon after is off again, this time to the South Pacific.
As a teenager, Freddy Drilhon has been traumatised by the fierce naval battles of the Second World War. When peace returns, he leaves Europe in 1946 at the age of 19 in conflict with his upper class Parisien parents. He works as a sailor, travelling to the South Sea islands where he lives with a one-time tribe of cannibals. In 1954 his book "Le people inconnu" (The unknown people) and documentary film "Amok – les Big Nambas" (Amok – the Big Nambas) earn him international acclaim.
It is in the South Sea islands that Katharina and Freddy meet for the first time in 1956. For the next three years they travel extensively through little-explored regions, their spectacular writings selling with great success in Europe. The couple return to Europe in 1958, with a wealth of photographic and film material – and a young daughter.
Seeking a permanent home, the couple find in Switzerland a medieval building called the Maison du Prieur (Priory House) in the Vaudois village of Romainmôtier. The purchase price is low, but extensive repairs are necessary. The ensuing restoration work reveals unique rooms and paintings, and the Maison du Prieur turns out to be a sensational discovery. It is the last preserved Priory House in Europe in which centuries earlier pilgrims stayed while on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Enchanted by its medieval magic, Katharina devotes all her energy to restoring the building to its former glory – a refuge for reflection in a modern world of increasingly hectic hustle and bustle.
However, the new home leads to a crisis in their relationship. This is revealed in a touching exchange of love letters. Katharina has found her true home – a home which she does not want to leave at any price. Freddy is torn between his love for Katharina and his yearning for travel and adventure. His pent-up past is also catching up with him, and emotional outbursts and an excess of alcohol take their toll. After years of going their separate ways, the couple are finally re-united – but sadly, too late in their lives. Freddy dies from a heart attack in 1976 at the age of only 50. Katharina feels responsible for his early death and suffers a severe life crisis.
author / director WILFRIED MEICHTRY
actors coach MARCEL GISLER
DOP PIERRE REISCHER
Executive Producer URS SCHNELL
Sabine Timoteo as KATHARINA VON ARX
Christophe Sermet as FREDDY DRILHON
KATHARINA VON ARX