Monthly Archives: August 2012

A safe landing 2 days ago. The feeling of an uncommon jet lag. We arrived home after our holidays. We came back home after work as well. 3600 km in 10 days. Our plane was a car. Our trip back in two times. Our vacations in four movements and 8 bits.

Now time to start the week. In fact not – we are Thursday. Weekend is close and no time to breathe. The air feels different. Probably the mountains, the altitude. It was flat over there. Never ending horizon. A vaste space where thoughts get wiped away by the wind. Here the mountains are hermetic. Here the heights are a barrier. We should feel safe. We do feel home.

Working time. Restless. Something changed. The landscape changed. Snow in the Alpes and rain here down. I feel like it is time to rest. But the rhythm is an new one. Actually like an old friend we knew that came back to our place. 3 steps for the movement. Then immobile. Time to think. No need to hurry before the next step.

The rain goes on outside and I know the digestion time started. A lot happened between the road trip, the memorial visit and the Festival. So many different things. So much in common. We are moving and entering a new phase of our lives and it is right. It sounds right.

All experiences are worth. Every new person you know completes you. Sometimes it is hard to see it, sometimes it is easy. Just natural. Just the way it should be.

I remember something from a deep past that goes beyond my own existence. It is rare.

I shared time in every possible way. It is rare.

I had the greatest professional time ever with amazing people. Every jury member. Every staff member. Thank you guys

Bounds are created.

Lace is woven.

Life can grow further.




I am in Poland. Family, work and vacation time : this is the plan. Actually the family and vacation are almost done, with like always a great time in my wife’s parents place and a quite surprising vacation time. Indeed we moved east to spend a couple of days in Krakow and its surroundings (meaning not only visiting the polish kingdom’s jewels but also all the Jewish heritage and drama of the area)
Great discoveries, nice surprise and very hard moments but at the end, and what puts all of it together, something that warmed up my heart and made me feel like back to a known place : liver kaviar, herrings with apples, czulent, beef tongue, hummus, pita, olives in quantity and quality. Nothing to add, just the certainty that when words are not enough, a warm plate is enough to say it all.

Now time to work and 25 short movies are just behind the corner, waiting to be screened over this two coming days. I do look forward to it, to be a great jury member.

And if taking a decision or making a call will be difficult, well let’s discuss it over a nice diner.

The quest Europe movie festival in zielona gora, Poland :

The restaurants in krakow :
The olive tree

If reading my short bio, you’ll see that I was born in Chile, and then that I travelled a lot of miles to cross an ocean and land in Switzerland. I am one of those that, in the 20th century, was commonly affected by some political crisis in his motherland and had to leave in order to have a future, or simply a life.

When I think about it, I realize that this story doesn’t belong to our new century. That, of course and we have seen it, wars are bringing their quota of emigrants, but as well does the climate change. If I say my story doesn’t belong any longer to this century, it is because it was still the legacy of the Communist / Capitalist blocs fight, in its most standard way. Nowadays we have an East / West, North / South but politics aren’t the front line.

If maybe it isn’t from this century either, it is because, after 29 years in Europe, 29 years in Switzerland, the feeling of being from abroad tends to disappear. I have, since a couple of years the Swiss citizenship : it means a lot to me.

Chilean living in Switzerland becoming Swiss…and in order to makes things easy married with a Polish woman. Think about our children !

And actually, I do think about them. Even more as just yesterday, a new law allows Polish citizens to have another nationality. So many ones. Where will they be from ? Everywhere.

What about the roots ? Everywhere as well ! And my way of connecting their future with, is my new movie project : ON LOCATION, or the chronicle of the small village where I grew up in Switzerland.

Between my 3 and 14 years old, I lived in a small village in the beautiful Gruyere region. A perfect place to grow up. Nothing in common with our life back in Chile, from work to landscape, from language to food. For good and bad.
I left that place 18 years ago…and my parents left the country back to Chile 13 years ago.

Some 3 years ago, I was invited by a dear friend, he’s more like family actually, to assist to the play his theater troup was playing. A local troup. From this village. In the village. I recognized and met some almost forgotten faces. Discussions, thoughts. And the feeling that there was a real beauty in those amateurs acting on an improvized stage for the locals.

It took me 3 years to move away from the simple fascination on what can be seen as a particular phenomenon to enter the real interest of it : almost 20 years went by, my family history, the one of the village, the History with a capital letter.

And the village, as a main character. Its life, its habits, its changes, its inhabitants. Add four beautiful seasons, local activities and a new theater play, a brand original creation, that strangely enough approaches what a life is made of. How it was, how it will be.

It is called ON LOCATION and will ask a full year of shooting and editing. I have a great crew to work with : small but efficient, people that I believe understand the fragility of such project. I have a great sponsor and who knows, if it makes you feel like being part of it, well stay tuned as some crowdfunding could be requiered by the end of next year.

I always tell myself that I prefer an average or failed movie but a great personal experience and improvement. I have the feeling that for this one, both will be successful.

ON LOCATION, a movie by JP Fuenzalida Lorca

Official release date : ***SEPTEMBER 2013***



Locarno is over. I mean for us. For this year.  Our days spent there were great : good food, average weather, interesting movies, bad scenarios, crowded theaters, beautiful meals, etc…

I could say it was a year like another. I could come back with the same feelings and ideas. But this year has been different. Different in many ways.

First of all, we can feel the touch of the new director. We feel this strong passion for sharp artistic content. A lot of what is being chosen tends to shift the center of gravity towards more production of Western Europe and USA. Basically a focus on the Occidental perspective of life. A very interesting choice, as we experience a financial crisis for those geographical area. And one of the consequences of a crisis, is the need for a protection of our assets. In movies, our assets are beliefs and convictions.

This shift brought a lot of movies that showed  heroes without passion, rebels without a cause, a need for change without bravery and a safe look back to our happy youth in the 80s.  As well a lack of love, a lack of humanity and more importantly : a lack of empathy and brotherhood. It seems like those productions are suffering from the crisis in a deeper way than just the lack of money : the generation that creates , write, shoots and edits such is sitting between a rock and a hard place. The model of society we knew has to change, will change and is really about to change. Our way of opening perspectives, showing the world, being the “gatekeepers of the truth” (to quote Mr Belafonte) is changing has well. And clearly that generation of film makers hesitates like our entire Occidental world between changing the paradigm and holding back a bit longer to be sure the landing will be safe. A feeling of pre-rebellion, pre-action, pre-change of times drives some of those movies we have watched.

So does the artistic line chosen by the Director, and it does change the Festival’s heart turning it into another of those dying european events like Venice or Berlin : the amount of people with the cheetah pass, the amount of professionals, the sold out premieres and therefore the lack of seats, the short list of movies that travel around the Festivals, the increased size of the special VIP area on the Piazza…is more evident than ever.

Until now Locarno had this unbelievable freedom of not getting hurt or touch or influenced as strongly as others by the global dynamics. A real festival for movie “passionates” and lovers of that art. It meant making questionable choices on the movies selection, too often qualified by extremely wide, not having a clear direction, being unequal in quality and quantity. But it had its freedom and was serving its art. The new red carpet, where more special guests  than stars will walk over is the sign of a standardization to a model of what a movie festival should be.

We all do the same. We like, when starting a new project, personal or professional, to make it look like our previous ones, in order to feel reassured and to give confidence to our partners. In our times of changes, having such attitude is for sure safe. But it is as well a clear choice of the side we want to belong to.

I want to make clear I am not calling back any nostalgia or pretend it used to be better. I just believe we entered a new phase and it will take time to everyone to adapt to the new world that is getting shaped. And for such, we need to keep our minds opened to the uncertainties that will come. The debate about Eastern European schools and Swiss ones was probably one of the most important on that topic so far ; next generations can’t get taught the way we were. They will enter a new professional model that is our responsibility to create and to provide.

Locarno Festival was 65 this year. I am afraid that some will believe we saw the early signs for retirement. Maybe are those signs only directed towards our way of thinking the cinema on this side of the world…




Today no mise en scene at the breakfast. No men in black. Or very little. Probably the weather forecast of a shiny day defeated them. I am sure the toughest resistant must be wearing some black undies. A pity that nobody can see the perfect match with their glasses frames.

Like every day this week we tend to be a bit late for the 9 am screening, and as we cross the road in front of our hotel, a lonely street in the morning, with sharp angles shadows projected on the floor by this unexpected sun, a young man came toward us asking for a lighter. I do not smoke but my great and adventurous partner in crime does. If the UN would promote a peace program based on tobacco for sure it would work. But no political chat here, just one of those great moments when by a total chance you meet someone and start an interesting discussion, and yes guess about what ? Movies, and more specifically about yesterday’s school panel debate. I already gave my point of view on it on yesterday’s note – and will develop more in the conclusion of these festival days – but to make it short, I tend to believe there is a certain redundancy in what is being done by those schools, whilst he thinks there is a big wave coming, brought by the wind of change. Funnily enough we do live in the same place, so once back for sure we ll go on with this discussion.

We arrived to the Ex-Rex theater with a certain delay and secretly whispering the wind of change. I need to find some old tapes in the cellar.

Like said earlier, starting the day with the retrospective is a good way to get ready for the daily program. It gives a kind of base from where you can build your thoughts on, and today’s movie was a late piece of the 70s, a mix between the disillusion of a perfect and successful life in line with your parents expectation facing the free spirit of the 70s and already lost hopes of an already too old generation to fully accept the revolution. Yes a middle age crisis brought by the death of a character and the exposure of his secrets. How much strength has a man to keep control over everything ? And how strong are his relatives to accept the lies that protected them from getting hurt ? Sharp movie. Very sharp.

A nice weather equals nice walks. 10 min from piazza to Fevi, count 15 min because of flip flops injuries and we can’t make it on time for Tutti Giu. Again a sold out session. Of course as it was the premiere of an Italian movie. It grasps attention. We can’t help starting the discussion about how much it reminds my wife the time when her parents had to queue for toilet paper during the communist times. She’s from Poland. Here no toilet paper. And we have a great laugh.

This unexpected event pushed us to another place and there we are ready for L’enfant d’en haut, a Swiss movie that was released earlier this year. What a surprise to arrive late (again) and to discover all lights are on : the Swiss authors association delivers every year some grants to help in the development of 4 fictional movies and 4 documentaries. And what a surprise to see some old pals from the movie school being called on stage. It meant meeting them later.

But for now, and after those announcements, the movie. Setting the commercial / fame background of it , it got a special prize in Berlin and is the pride of Swiss Films ; the director will even be part of one of the juries at the next Mostra in Venice.
On the artistic side, it is the story of a young boy’s life spread between the valley where he lives in a certain poverty with his sister, and the ski resorts uphill where he steals all what comes around to get some cash and make their living possible.
And there goes with the hard part. I prefer saying it upfront, what will follow is a 10000% my own personal opinion and totally biased by my background…: how come, in 2012, you dare still making such type of movie ? I do not have anything, it is rather the opposite, against social movies. I love when you can make a great fiction where you describe the struggle of a social class, no matter which one. We had great examples this year with Otto Preminger’s movies. But in the case of this Swiss movie, I am doubtful on the way of presenting it. I heard some people talking about a bourgeois fantasy about the lower class. I would rather say it recalls me an old history book I had during my secondary days, a book that used to be part of the archive but that our teacher liked. A book where we still were talking about colonies in Asia and Africa….and this is the feeling I have in front of the movie : a perspective from the early 20th century when poor people and workers might still be charged for spreading plague, being undereducated and lacking any kind of pride. And if you are a female, my god poor you, no future. Zero ability to survive without a man. Ok I can hear some saying but it is a fiction and you have to understand it as a tale. Fine. Fair. But the attributes given to the characters still are the ones I mentioned above. Not to forget : only if you are rich you can easily deal with a family and maternity…with a certain detachment but you can. And if you are rich, you are a foreigner. No way you can be Swiss. And if you are Swiss, you are on top of the system or totally under.
My last point : did you know that with 100 francs you can eat for half a month by going to Aldi or any other Walmart like supermarket? And what about low cost products? I know it is a tale that got a prize for its acute social perspective….

After such a long break was needed : friends, discussions, melon, prosciutto, pizza, giant coke, ice cream, walk, sun and a free drink that contains 3x more caffein than an espresso. Yes we are middle class.

The coffee drink didn’t have the expected effect on my best half, and when watching the Korean movie , she couldn’t help having a little rest, despite a clear interest in the plot. How can we talk about justice in China, not matter if the guilt is proven or not, true or not.
A very interesting 70 min movie made out of a maximum of 20 different shooting angles. Some scenes do last 5 min with no camera movement. And if the powerful topic, because based on a true story, is a great hook, the mise en scene is clean and clear. In some places you still isolate the truth to make it weaker, in some others you dilute it amongst all the other pretended ones. Very sensitive movie , as fragile in its success as it is close to the failure.

Knowing it would be our last day,we made the choice to catch back the screening of a movie selected for the week of the critics : me, my camera and the end of the war in Libya. Actually we were afraid it would be ME, MY CAMERA, and libya. And what a great time we had with this project. Humble, serving its topic, we are within the libyan population,within the war’s rampage, within a reality. Choices are made, sides are chosen. A bit redundant at the end but is it the director’s fault or our fatigue about war images ? I told myself with a little smile that some wasted buildings weren’t as nice as some fictional war movie’s set.

Evening on the piazza, squeezed between the gang of girls – mom vacations and the lost surfers crew. On screen a nice French comedy about what my generation faces : middle age crisis and how to deal with the choices we made / believe we we forced to follow and what those commitments brought as consequences. We laughed, we almost cried. It was a great last evening.

More to come tomorrow with the wrap up of those Italian days. Stayed tuned, cheetahs are on their way !

The movies :

Such good friends, by Otto Preminger, USA, 1971, 101min
L’ enfant d’en haut (Sister), by Ursula Meier, CH/France, 2012, 97min
Wo hai you hua yao shuo (when night falls), by Ying Liang, South Korea/China, 2012, 70min
Libya hurra, by Fritz Ofner, Austria, 2012, 73min
Camille redouble, by Noemie Lvovsky, France, 2012, 115min

Another day, another die…
It could have been be my day of quotes.

As usual a great time in the breakfast room. Next to us, a couple of mature cinema industry insiders are talking about what they just watched the day before, how much only the personal attachment to the place that was shown in the movie was worth loosing time. It took me 5min to eat my croissant with butter and jam. The movie they were talking about probably lasts 90min. If watching it, I might have lost the opportunity of eating 18 croissants. Simple maths ?

So starting the day with an oldie but goodie from Otto Preminger : a nice romance from 1936 including the essential of that time : rich and adventurous young lady, free spirit opera singer and funny foreigners. A real delight that I must say works as a perfect warm up for the screening day.

Right after, we went to an interesting so called “industry event”, a panel on Swiss and eastern Europe movie schools. Poland, Czech,Bulgaria,and the 4 Swiss art and movie schools directors ready to answer and debate about common realities and main differences in their respective approach on the hard and humble work of forming the replacement of all of us here. It was interesting, but unfortunately the moderator wasn’t good enough to make it vivid and meaningful. His initial statement that not all the guests would answer to every question otherwise we would have an echo phenomenon is a perfect summary of the depth of the discussions. Too much political correctness. To be highlighted the vision of eastern Europe where you try to create a frame to let the students discover and express there wishes, whilst here you work on shaking their minds. I leave to you the pleasure to draw conclusions.

That debate worked as a second warm up that would be very useful later in the afternoon.

In between, we had the great opportunity to watch an Israeli movie called Not in Tel Aviv. Simple, direct, efficient. Chaotic, shouty, funny. Seductive, bright, violent. In other words : a kosher version of Clerks. Great time, great discovery and great movie crew. An extremely personal movie about all what a man doesn’t dare doing in his real life. A week of script writing transposed in a movie. Low budget but big heart. A success well deserved.
We stayed for the discussion with the crew, and when the first question was have you ever seen Godard’s movies…and the answer being yes even the font of the titles is inspired by, I couldn’t hide a little disappointment. I am always doubtful about the inspiration from what I tend to more and more consider as an overrated movement of the 60s. I prefer young directors being influenced by a decade more meaningful in their respective lives than the one that influenced their teachers or that is part of the history of art.

Later on , after a sandwich with lightenings and summer showers, it was time for the challenge of the day : Swiss selection of short movies. And the mornings debate came back to our minds.
I was curious of the quality, as every year, of what the Swiss young movie makers production would be. And year after year you are getting the same movies about the same topics. Only the technology changes, welcome are you my dear DSLRs, but the content doesn’t. All together we haven seen the usual I am lost in life, I don’t know where to go, I am getting crazy, I show boobs and aborted sex scene, I want to talk about the workers and lower social class life, it is hard to see my own boobs growing, I am afraid of being an adult.
Is it wrong ? No not really. They are young movie makers and so young persons in the beginning of their great and adventurous career as human beings. The outcome of it is more a puzzling question : if since the last 20 years their worries and topics are still the same and are presented the same way, does it mean the society did not change or that this great Helvetic stability that is provided enables a healthy status quo ? Again this is highly personal and everyone has a different point of view on it. Mine is that in our days when being from here enables you to travel everywhere, to spent the needed time for a full immersion in what you want to describe, we should be able to see a slight change in those productions, and not 40 year old stereotypes. For sure it ll come one day. But like my mom always repeated me, it takes different speeds and paths for everyone.

The next movie, part of the international contest was Der Glanz des Tages. An Austrian movie about an actor and it’s life meeting an old uncle and it’s memories and need for communication. An interesting project, with great actors, simple plot and harmonious development. In between fiction and documentary, the righteous acting and camera shots make out of a little project a great moment of partnership with the audience. No pretentious show off ; just the true humble idea of serving the plot and the story as it would be reality and not a fictional piece. I do recommend it.

That was for the official screening day, I mean by official the selection of movies we want to watch to get something out of it and to make comments about. The supposedly serious part, the working part, the preparing next project part, the good students summer program, as in evening, and the first one on the piazza, a delirious comedy called Bachelorette has been a great entertainment. Perfect movie for the piazza. And we really laughed a lot. In line with Apatows or Farrellis bros comedies, everyone had some nice nasty white trash fun.

The day has been really fruitful and all what we watched kept us thoughtful for different reasons. As said earlier, it could have been my days of quotes, and I believe it is the best way to conclude this post.
“Artists are the gatekeepers of the truth” That sentence was given to Harry Belafonte in his early 20s by his mentor of that time. Harry Belafonte was on stage yesterday evening, to receive an award for his career. His speech lasted 15 min, a moment of beauty where you have a human being talking to other human beings. No big theory or comments. Just the beliefs of a man that first is a citizen before being an artist. But a citizen that understands the duty of the artist, of the one who stands in the middle of the others to claim the truth. The one who should be brave enough to stand for what the others can’t : ” nowadays the role of the artist is bigger than ever in these hard times. More than ever he should serve the truth”. That sentence he said yesterday is the greatest advice you can do to someone who feels brave enough to stand in front of the others. In a certain way I always said and believed we are some chosen ones and have great duty towards our work and others, and today with the movies, the school theories, the personal inspiration and choice of topics we have seen, that sentence takes a bigger meaning, by not being totally perceivable. Freedom is what leads most of the creations, as we believe it is an indestructible achievement. I do not think so, and I do think that we have the duty to continue with taking a larger bit of responsibility on things that the others do. This is the allowance for using some others people freedom : to be the gatekeepers of the truth.

I’ll finish this with, what I hope won’t sound too negative, a quote from our neighbors after the short movie program. For info, those neighbors were grown up mature people with a long life experience behind them :
” it is interesting to watch their production, but one thing I cannot accept, is to see how much negativity and lack of hope they believe in. It seems like nothing is worth trying. It is sad.”

Yes it is.

The movies :

Under your spell, by Otto Preminger, USA, 1936, 62min
Not in Tel Aviv, by Nony Geffen, Israel, 2012, 82min
Der Glanz des Tages, by Tizza Covi and Rainer Frimmel, Austria, 2012, 90min
Bachelorette, by Leslye Headland, USA, 2011, 87 min

Short movies :

On the beach, by Marie-Elsa Sgualdo, CH, 2012, 17min
Radio-Actif, by Nathan Hofstetter, CH, 2012, 27min
Iamina, by Christian Tschanz, CH/Iceland, 2012, 7min
Il vulcano, by Alice Riva, CH, 2012, 18min
Les ambassadeurs, by Maxime Matray and Alexia Walther, CH/FR, 2012, 15min

Second day. Breakfast room looking like a zombie hall where smiles are forbidden but black serious outfit and large frame glasses a must have….yes we made some comments, jokes and then, after enjoying a nice double portion of orange juice we moved to the first screening of the day, without knowing that we would meet some other zombies with the cheetah necklace later for other adventures.
But first things first : 208 min at 9 am, for Exodus, the masterpiece of Otto Preminger. Telling you the truth, despite our great interest for the topic (some complicated family history pushes me to watch such), we were afraid to not be able to watch the entire movie…and what a surprise to come out after 3h30 from the theater with the great feeling of having spent a highly fruitful moment.
If any specific comment should be made about the movie – a portrait of the creation of Israel – it is that we dared making choices in the 60s. Showing a certain reality with clear choices even if not absolutely in line with historical truth wasn’t much of a problem : your audience wouldn’t sue your for such or shout for scandal as it can be the case nowadays. And more interestingly watching some victims becoming rebels and having a cause and dealing with the complexity and consequences of their choices makes a real contrast with yesterdays movie.

For all our mathematics freaks that calculated it was lunch time after the movie, well first of all well done you are right, we indeed had a quick meal on a crowded restaurant with shouty hairy neighbors, taking some energy before the highly expected latest movie from the famous Swiss movie director Peter Mettler : The end of time.

And the end of our hope in some movie making in this part of the world. Do I exaggerate ? Yes of course. But I never felt tortured in a such a way when watching a movie. I liked his previous movies, maybe a certain youth and more relaxed attitude helped, but today I just couldn’t stand it.
How could I summarize it. Yes I know : when the high speed cameras of the National Geographic channel are meeting the most boring “clicheous” unbearable 14th years old tantric esotirical questions about the meaning of time. And of course, add a little of negativity end of the world we all will die by screwing the planet hint and you are done. My feeling after ? Headache, sadness, depression as first , believing I got injected some poisonous fluid called : in western countries you have time to talk about the meaning of time and what to do with it when in other places you deal pragmatically with time as no moment to rest in front of life.
Mmh I forgot to mention the last quote of the movie from Dostoievski about time, happiness and Russian dumplings. Well not really about the dumplings but it d have made a nice touch of lightness if.
My backseats neighbors are still shouting against the applauding monkeys I think.

That harsh experience pushed us to a well deserved break, as we never felt like this after a movie. By the way, how come can a movie suck you so much energy ? Why this permanent feeling of death in it, despite those amazing images ?

After the break, we had our war plan ready : be early at the Palavideo theater for a very intriguing movie called Image Problem, a fancy Swiss documentary about Switzerland . What a surprise to arrive to the entrance half an hour before and to be in a queue 3 times bigger than the theaters capacity. And yes here I go again with some little complain : I ve seen this happening more and more often within the last 3 years in this Festival. Rationalization ? Better profit ? Or too many guys with the cheetah pass ? Opened question addressed to the team of the event….Locarno, we have a Seats Problem.

Nevertheless we decided to move on time to the other side of the city for a movie about the Sagrada Familia and there again, great surprise to arrive and to be told it is sold out !
Another 2 minutes of complains (my god are we becoming locals ?) and we are forced to go and watch a totally out of our radar movie : Les Gouffres, by Antoine Barraud. Quite a surprise. First of all, it is a 64 min format. Secondly, it has only two main characters and one exists outside of the frame, leaving the other, a woman, alone vs her fears and emptiness of life. Beautiful images of some south American place, intriguing atmosphere of a person that is loosing her sense of reality. A very classic movie in the development of the plot, where you can totally feel that there was a clear premise that turned into some metaphorical treatment and script. Why not after all ? This is the holy code that is being taught in most of the cinema schools. A nice surprise worth being watched despite some depressing topic.

In order to get ready for the evening, a quick Indian food and the critical choice : another depressing movie but in the piazza grande ? Or a movie from the jury in a closed theater ? A brand new one vs an old one ?
After the afternoons experience we decided to apply an old Locarno rule : movies from the jury are always the best ones you can watch ! And there we are sitting in the Ex Rex , ready for Roger Avary’s Rules of Attraction movie. What a delight ! 110 min flew by with a great pop and irrespective rhythm ! The movie was made in 2002 but still seemed so actual with a great dynamic and idea of the mise en scene.

A strange day was it, and for the first time since a long period I got kind of angry. Indeed what I learned today is that time is relative, as well as the matters that bother us. It is impossible to make a scale or to say that what is your interest is weaker or stronger than mine. But what, for sure can be criticized is the maturity of your involvement in what you do, in the movies you make. Today I ve seen 4 different ways of dealing with life, past, fantasies and obsessions. In every case you could see a different approach, a different treatment but as well a clear split between a pretty mature approach of life with a responsible position vs a totally naive and safe posture. The old movies ( Exodus and The Rules of Attraction) are movies where the movie director takes the risk to not be right, not be totally exact and maybe not sure about everything but you see decisions and a statements in the choices and in the point of view. It doesn’t matter if you can be criticized, you know it is part of the game : you are not afraid of your convictions even if they don’t englobe every possible point of view.
In the two recent ones, I felt some fear from the directors, fear to be wrong, fear to dare claiming an idea, a political view and fear to not be artistic enough. An unpleasant mirror of todays western societies where , yes indeed it is the end of time, you think nothing more can be achieved, changes are possible but let’s do it quietly and almost secretly and stepping out of the range is too dangerous. Stick to the definition of your role. Any perturbation of the systems is not welcomed so let’s not be the one who do it. And actually, if there is any role – I insist that is is my personal perspective – where claiming out loud an idea is possible and even a preponderant part of the costume is as movie director. Even if you are into poetic, non narrative sensitive conceptual work, you have to put some strong content in it. Don’t mix up content and treatment. The most scary and disturbing premises can be presented in the most eclectic way, but when you seat in front , you can feel it.

Tomorrow another day full of cheetahs, badges, journalists, hipsters, bikes, Swiss Germans, Italian food, wine, naked people on the movies, flip flops, rain, boiled eggs for breakfast, fake croissants, smelly toilets, red wet carpets, zombies, sleeping audience, in a word : a relative day in the festival.

The movies :

Exodus, by Otto Preminger, USA, 1960, 208 min
The End of Time, by Peter Mettler, CH/Canada, 2012, 109 min
Les Gouffres, by Antoine Barraud, France, 2012, 65 min
The Rules of Attraction, by Roger Avary, USA/Germany, 2002, 110 min

After a nice 4 h train journey and a quick luggage drop, the screening journey started with a Swiss selection of movies. The first one I absolutely wanted to watch was the short movie of a friend. Unfortunately we entered the theater when the end credits were on screen. The 10min bus ride couldn’t compensate our stretched timing. No worries I ll watch it another time.
However in the second part of that screening we could watch a movie that was already tempting during its commercial exploitation time : Operation Libertad, from Nicolas Wadimoff. In a few words, how to be a rebel without a cause in Switzerland in the 80’s. Having as a background all the communist revolutionary doctrine that was embraced by the youngsters of that period, a bunch of stereotyped marginals (punks, lefty intellectuals, hippies ..well a mix of all that) decided that talking about the revolution isn’t enough and decide to cross the path of the real action. Inspired by they elderly brothers from Germany or Italy, they plan what is their big deal : making public the corruption and laundering of south american money in a Swiss bank.
If the topic and the main idea is quite charming, the set up and choice of mise en scene take us away from the real topic of the movie. Indeed the main trick here is that we are supposed to be watching some footage that a young man did during those days of revolution, an art student that might have followed them in that exciting but dangerous journey. As a matter of fact, the movie starts with this reporter in his old days, being 60 actually, and adressing this episode of his life to his daughter, Leila, like in star wars.
This strategy of a follower main narrator that disappears in front of the action to then having to be part of the action and from time to time existing in the frame and then asking question like a not too clever journalist takes us away from the real questions of the movie (what does it mean to be a rebel in Switzerland and is it worth) into some history of cinema / memories from teenagehood time (is it worth filming everything and what is true or not in it, what makes sense to be filmed or not).
Overall it is a journey into the past of a certain generation – a lot of the audience of the theater room and festival actually – that used to believe and live as rebels by those 80s and that nowadays come here with their great big cars after having taken a couple of days off from their companies. To me , they felt as well as we could see it in the movie, that it was great times, we were young and naive, we maybe did some stupidities in the name of a doctrine we blindly followed , but who didn’t ?
We were young and that was fun. So is it with the movie : fun and why not taking those 94 min to watch it !

Second screening of the day in a fully completely crowded theater : Far from Afghanistan, a movie of many directors…and egos.
If it seemed to be a very attractive project – an update of the Loin du Vietnam from 1967 – so was the room crowded with audience and journalists and our seats were on first row, the very last ones that enable you to have the greatest neck pain ever. If only the pain could have stayed on that area of our bodies.
Before starting my speech about the movie, a quick word to the professional journalists : stop believing your are the Hemingways that cover the festival for the sake of testimony to the human kind. Seat, enjoy, write a couple of notes but don’t overact. Leave all that to what is on screen please.
So after this little break, let’s go back to Afghanistan.
Actually not a lot to say , apart from the initial credits : the size of the font introducing the movie makers is taking most of the screen, the feeling is even that it will never fit….until you arrive to the “footage done in Afghanistan” where strangely 8 names are quoted and perfectly fit the screen width…
Far from Afghanistan is more than true for the ones that made the movies. It is more a : let’s talk about the idea of the war then talking about the reality of the war. Is it worth ? To me not really, but a certain audience might get touched by it. In our case one sleepy person and another one trying to avoid a date to an osteopath doesn’t seem to be the target. Not mentioning that half of the audience left before the end.

So as always the learning of the day is quite simple : there is a clear difference between discoursing on a topic and sharing the reality – even reconstructed with fantasies – of a situation.

Quoting the last sentence of the first movie : you didn’t chose anything from the location you were born to your relatives, but feel free to do what you want of your life’s choices.

When it is about movies, feel free as well, but be tough and responsible !

The movies :

Operation Libertad , by Nicolas Wadimoff, Switzerland – 2011, 94 min

Far from Afghanistan, by a bunch of a lot of different movie directors, USA, Afganistan – 2012, 129 min