Switzerland

Mathieu Seiler – Stefanies Geschenk (1996)

Quote:
Sweet, 12 year-old Stefanie, played by child model Soraya Da Mota, dreams of attacking her parents with a flail. Not because they treat her particularly badly, you understand, but because, like any right minded-adolescent, Stefanie is rebelling against normality. As she escapes into a fantasy world, the boundaries between dream and reality blur until, real or not, Stefanie’s dad gets one hell of a birthday present. Read More »

Alain Tanner – Charles mort ou vif AKA Charles, Dead or Alive (1969)

Quote:
That the critics baptized the wave which emerged at this time as the “new Swiss cinema” simply reflects the fact that the “old” Swiss cinema was unknown to the cinema-going public. Today, the appeal and energy of this first film remain undiminished, magnified by the exceptional stature and presence of François Simon and the sublimely uncluttered camera work of Renato Berta. Tanner drew his subject matter from what he saw of the events of May ’68 in Paris, which he covered for Swiss television. Unimpressed by the ideological pronouncements of the young demonstrators (Tanner was nearly 40 and mistrustful of the siren songs of militancy), he was more struck by the elderly people marching alongside them. Read More »

Daniel Schmid – Jenatsch (1987)

Quote:
A journalist is assigned to interview an eccentric anthropologist who has exhumed the skeleton of Jörg Jenatsch, a revered freedom fighter who was mysteriously murdered in 1639. Initially disinterested, the journalist begins to uncover unflattering truths about the national hero and experiences visions in which he seems to be witnessing events that transpired over 300 years ago. As he obsessively pursues the investigation, his personal life and his grip on reality disintegrate, drawing him relentlessly toward the fatal carnival at which Jenatsch was killed. Read More »

Alain Tanner – La Salamandre (1971)

Synopsis:
‘Two men, arty though somewhat staid, are drawn to the spirited and quixotic Rosemonde, a young working-class woman whom they meet because they’re writing a teleplay about a minor but curious event in which either her uncle was wounded while cleaning his rifle or she shot him. Pierre is a free-lance journalist hired to write the script; he’s short of time so he asks a Bohemian novelist friend, Paul, to help. Pierre wants facts and tracks down Rosemonde for interviews that lead to other explorations; Paul only wants to imagine her and needs little more than her name to do so. But he does meet her, and she entangles him, too. Did she cause the shooting? Is she venomous or innocent?’ Read More »

Sergio Da Costa & Maya Kosa – L’Île aux oiseaux AKA Bird Island (2019)

Birds’ Island? A small veterinary centre specialized in ornithology. Social services have assigned Antonin this job with the aim of re-inserting him into the work-force after illness and isolation, leaving him both unskilled and lacking motivation. He’ll be taking over for Paul, who will soon be leaving for retirement after years of raising mice to be fed to the centre’s predatory birds. Sandrine and Emily are both veterinarians; they take care of birds, in particular one traumatized owl who has to learn how to live again. Read More »

Cyrill Schläpfer – Ur-Musig (1993)

Quote:
This movie is about traditional swiss folkmusic has a lot more to offer than only folklore. “UR-Musig” is about the work and life of mountain peasants in the midst of archaic mountain landscapes. It is about traditional swiss architecture and interior decorations, about peoples and their garbs. There are not many dialogs and no narrator. The pictures speak for themselves. The Swiss Prealps are shown in all four seasons and in all thinkable weathers which make every landscape shot more breathtaking than the other. Read More »

Clemens Klopfenstein – Geschichte der Nacht (1979)

“It’s a black-and-white record of European cities in the dark (2-5am), from Basle to Belfast. Quiet, and meditative, what ermerges most strongly is an eerie sense of city landscapes as deserted film sets, in which the desolate architecture overwhelms any sense of reality. The only reassurance that we are not in some endless machine-Metropolis is the shadow of daytime activity: a juggernaut plunging through a darkened village, a plague of small birds in the predawn light. The whole thing is underscored by a beautiful ‘composed’ soundtrack, from quietly humming stretlamps to reggae and the rumble of armoured cars in Belfast. A strange and remarkable combination of dream, documentary and science-fiction.”
Chris Auty, in: Programmheft London Film Co-op Read More »