Racines by Eileen Hofer (Switzerland, Turkey – 2008)
A time and space journey into the cinema of the Swiss Confederation…
Switzerland is better known for its bank confidentiality than for its films. And yet… At the end of the 1970s, a few filmmakers, including the iconic Alain Tanner, burst onto the international scene on the waves of May 1968 at a time when their French counterparts were still stuck gazing at their own navels. It goes without saying that this cinematic wealth was also on display in short films, whose high-quality, diverse production climbed onto the world’s screens as a mirror of the country itself.
Four programs give us the opportunity to go back in time to the very first retrospective in the Festival’s history, which was dedicated to Switzerland in 1982. This is a wonderful occasion to celebrate such an impressive milestone through the best films of the country’s vibrant, polyphonic cinema in all its variety, from fiction to animation, to documentaries, to experimental films, student films and independent productions, from filmmakers who are now well known, and from others who have remained in the shadows…
Swiss short films appear to be in perfect health. Take a look for yourself in eight politically engaged, off the wall, comical films that issue from such renowned film schools as the Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD), the Zurich University of the Arts (ZHDK) and the l’École Cantonale d’Art de Lausanne (ECAL).
Also included are the musical and visual games that mark the cinema of Georges Schwizgebel, one of the most prodigious artists working in contemporary animation. He is a staunch regular at the Festival with no fewer than ten selections, and he will also be holding a Masterclass on his work and his approach alongside his short films Hors-jeu [Out of Bounds] (1977), 78 tours [78 Revolutions] (1985), L’Homme sans ombre [The Man With No Shadow] (2004) and his latest, La Bataille de San Romano [The Battle of San Romano] (2017).
Don’t miss Dominique de Rivaz’s crushingly beautiful film Le jour du bain (1994). She is a Swiss filmmaker, scriptwriter and author who began her career with Alain Tanner and subsequently made her mark with both short and feature films that have won numerous prizes, for example Aélia, which won our Prix du Public in 1986. She is a part of this year’s international jury.
This is also your chance to watch Reto Caffi’s Auf der Strecke [On the Line] again. The film, which won the Grand Prix here in 2004, is one of the masterpieces of contemporary Swiss short film cinema, a piercing, intelligent drama that draws us into a complex social and moral tale.
In addition to this lovely retrospective, Courts de rattrapage is back with two special programs that focus on the work of a pair of remarkable filmmakers.
The first is Peter Volkart, who has been selected three times at Clermont-Ferrand and who will lead us on a journey of exploration into his poetic, out of the ordinary, parallel universe. In his animated projections, forgotten spaces open up and the audience is whisked off to wondrous, hitherto undiscovered lands that are located beyond our existence.
The second program takes a look at the work of Rolando Colla, who has also been selected three times and Clermont-Ferrand and has won two awards. For over twenty years, Colla has explored the condition of migrants, unveiling his fair, militant, layered analysis through a series of short films entitled Einspruch (Objection).