While there is now at least a little bit of recognition for the early German and Austrian sound film, the same cannot be said for films from Switzerland. Although Switzerland never had a big film industry, especially not at that time, I assume there might be some real gems to discover, if this film here is any indication.
The only film by director Valerien Schmidely (imdb also names Hans Trommer as co-director, but the credits do not), “Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe” is an adaption of the novella of the same name by Gottfried Keller. Set in the 19th century, two peasants are fighting over a plot of land that doesn’t even belong to them, and in the course of events they ruin their families. However, Sali and Vreneli, their children, are in love with each other, and as the title indicates, this love cannot have a happy future…
The film has an earthy, almost archaic character, which however is far, far removed from the ‘blood and soil’-ideology of some German films of the time. Still, the landscape photography is ravishing, we have a very touching performance by Margrit Winter as Vreneli and fine acting all around, a well-written script, and a surprisingly assured direction. All these elements together make for an incredibly beautiful film with an almost transcendent ending.
0.98GB | 1h 13mn | 544×416 | avi