"A super cool narrative movie, not a second of boredom, great music, great pictures and surprising images

from a time the people of Zürich ripped out of their memory. And of course, a wonderful Mel who is so real

it hurts sometimes."


Alberto Venzago



"In many ways, MEL by Hans Peter Riegel is an astonishing debut. Primarily a touching, engaging portrait

of a young woman who didn’t always had an easy life in society, but also a strong portrait of the open drug scene in Zürich in the late eighties, early nineties


Hans Peter Riegel succeeds with his balancing act between privacy and publicity and is at best where he is

the most unspectacular, the most poetic. I wish this movie has the attentive audience it deserves.”


This Brunner





How do I get away from this bullshit? How do I survive the next day?


Ever since Melanie was a child, she had to learn to take care for herself. Her mother sick and overburdened. The father absent. She comes to a foster family which is member of a cult. The remorseless education of the cultists makes her collapse and escape to her mother.


But the life together fails. Relegated to a boarding school in the mountains, she just wants to go away. Away from her unlucky childhood, away from this life of rules and repressions.


Melanie is fourteen when she ends up to Zürich’s red-light district, the largest and toughest drug scene in Europe.

She shaves her hair, becomes a punk, takes LSD and hash, struggles along as a small-time pusher.


Melanie becomes MEL.


She sleeps on a matrass, in a former factory, occupied by squatters. Here, she finds friends and some kind of home.

Her underground life begins.


MEL’s story is the story of a woman who leads a life beyond middle-class conventions. At the same time, MEL is a contemporary witness. A sharp observer, describing her broken childhood, the time of Zürich’s drug and squatter scene, own drug experiences, experiments as a nude model, life stages in Amsterdam and Barcelona.


With great openness and irony, she speaks about sexuality but also about male violence which she barely survives.


Eventually, she finds herself through bondage. For MEL, the captivation becomes an act of self-determination, a form of



Still she leads a life which is far off from society’s normality. And although she matured into a successful, confident woman,

she still has to fight. Against prejudices, against misogynistic, male oppression, against her own demons.



Hans Peter Riegel became known as author of biographies on Joseph Beuys and Jörg Immendorff, as a concept and media artist, in addition to his photographic oeuvre. He attracted attention with critical video works about the socialization of the Internet society. Learn more here: www.hans-peter-riegel.ch


MEL is a statement for new ways in the production of movies. Produced in an innovative way, with customary system cameras and iPhone.


A production of riverside new way film productions:  www.riverside-ag.ch





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