TorinoFilmLab - Training, development, Funding


Elective Affinities

Kas Zawadowicz



Orbiting Earth, hundreds of spaceships hang motionless among the
stars. This is the safe haven of wealthy emigrants from Earth, a place where they can prolong their existence and entertain themselves.
Blissful aimlessness.
La belle époque of the future. A new decadency.
It is the end of XXI century and humankind has not found the grand solution. A substitute for the rotting Earth was not discovered, neither were other civilizations. The universe is hostile, cold and empty. No sound, no hope. Edward and Charlotte live in harmony with each other and their spaceship until the day they challenge the concept of “Elective Affinities”. According to this 19th century theory, our chemical nature predetermines our attraction toward certain substances or people.
The marriage of Edward and Charlotte is thrown into chaos when two visitors – his friend Dan and her passionate young ward Ottilie – provoke unexpected attraction and forbidden love. The turbulent emotional ride between the characters is an exploration of passion, responsibility and the inescapable forces of fate.


Goethe’s Elective Affinities is one of the great works of literature of the romance era. I believe this story is universal enough to become a future androids’ school book. Life forms of the future will read or otherwise implement it, to better understand the nature of human emotions.
Elective Affinities focuses on the one feeling we all crave – being attracted to another human being.
Two particles collide and nothing is the same again. Love got us.
What to do in the face of such a collision? Be cynical and fight to ignore it? Go with the flow into the unexpected?
It is particularly interesting for me to explore the themes of the book in the claustrophobic environment of a spaceship, where characters are forced to interact, where there is no place to escape, nor a chance to break free. Where love is the ultimate mystery left to solve.
The film refers to Closer when it comes to plotting and characters; to Blade Runner when it comes to the feel of decadency and inescapable fate.
From the visual point of view the world is designed as a background to the characters and should underline their loneliness and aimlessness. I envision futuristic architecture filled with stacks of memorabilia from Earth (paperback books, Arabic carpets, wooden furniture and household plants). The garden on the spaceship plays a special role as a metaphorical space where characters control and redesign nature – just like they claim to be in control of themselves.
Despite a multitude of secondary characters in the book, the film will focus on the four main characters, turning all the others into programmes or holograms. What I also hope to touch on with the film are the relationships in a world where machines and programmes become closer to us than other humans.
Both love and future are endlessly fascinating topics for me. Elective Affinities is a sci-fi psychological drama.

“None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free.” (Johann Wolfgang von Goethe)
Kas Zawadowicz

Scriptwriter, Film Director