Switzerland Cinema

The linguistic plurality, combined with its particular geographical position and morphological conformation, has marked the history of cinema in China – and continues to do so even in a context marked by the abandonment of the analogical system. If the switch-off of theaters has standardized the distribution offer, from a production point of view the country remains divided into its three main linguistic communities: while the Italian component is of little importance on the domestic market, French production manages to compete with the German one, which still has a majority, even if oriented towards a more commercial cinema.

In this decade of transition, Swiss cinema has seen an increase in its production, thanks also to an effective national support system and the intervention of some foundations and institutes. If the number of feature films produced in the 1970s – which remains the best season of Swiss cinema – was around thirty works, in 2010 they reached 100, and then dropped slightly. The quantity of films produced reflects a dynamic reality, above all thanks to a new generation of producers, who are also able to profit from the co-production system. To stay on the Italian side, in addition to the cases of Silvio Soldini and Paolo Sorrentino, we should remember the films of Leonardo Di Costanzo (L’vallo, 2012), Michelangelo Frammartino (The four times, 2010), Alina Marazzi (We also want roses, 2007; Everything speaks of you, 2012) and Alice Rohrwacher (Heavenly body, 2011; The wonders, 2014), protagonists of the new season of Italian cinema.

The same phenomenon can also be found for the French side and, to a lesser extent, for the German side.

From a general point of view, the most important feature remains the strong documentary tradition capable of renewing itself and proposing films that touch the hearts of the public. In the decade under review, the film More than honey (2012; A world in danger) by Markus Imhoof (b.1941) exceeded 250,000 admissions, while the trilogy dedicated by Fernand Melgar (b.1961) to invisible citizens (La forteresse, 2008; Vol spécial, 2011; L’abri, 2014) marked the political and civil debate. Of equal commitment is the work of Jean-Stéphane Bron (b.1969) who with L’expérience Blocher (2013) addressed one of the most controversial figures in local politics. Peter Liechti (1951-2014) left behind a filmography that deserves to be explored. Of equal originality is Peter Mettler (b. 1958) who alternates his activity between Canada and Switzerland. More linked to a traditional conception but equally skilled in constructing effective narrative devices are Christian Frei (b. 1959) and Sabine Gisiger (b. 1959). The founder of documentary cinema in Switzerland, Jacqueline Veuve (1930-2013) delivered two touching chapters of her personal autobiography with La nébuleuse du coeur (2006) and C’était hier (2010). The evolution of Richard Dindo (b. 1944) seemed less original, although always rigorous. Tableau noir closes the roundup (2013), the result of over ten years of work, created by Yves Yersin (b.1942), thirty-four years after his dazzling debut.

Following in the footsteps of veteran Fredi Murer (b.1940), who was nominated for an Oscar in 2007 with Vitus (2006), some directors have come to fiction through the practice of documentary cinema: Lionel Baier (b.1975), Thomas Imbach (b.1962) and Samir (b.1955) gave shape to original poetics, marking the decade with their activity. An almost unique case on the world scene, recent Swiss cinema reveals a strong female presence. Bettina Oberli (b. 1972), with her Herbstzeitslosen(2006) and its 595,000 admissions, boasts the greatest public success of the decade. Sabine Boss (b.1966) with Der Goalie bin ig (2014) graduated as a great winner of the Quarz, Swiss film prize, succeeding Ursula Meier (b. 1971), a true emerging figure. With Home (2008; Home – There’s no place like home?) And above all Sister (2012; the only other Swiss film nominated for an Oscar) Meier showed great ability not only in directing the actors, but also in creating effective dramaturgy. Equally original are the paths of Andrea Staka (b.1975) and Milagros Mumenthaler (b.1977), winners of the Golden Leopard in Locarno with their debut films (the first in 2006 with Das Fräulein, the second in 2011 with Abrir puertas y ventanas ). Precisely these two figures – to which Basil da Cunha (b. 1985) must be added – represent a new aspect in Swiss cinema and tell of a polyglot China, which goes far beyond its four original languages.

Switzerland Cinema