In Partnership with SWISS FILMS
During the month of October, and in partnership with SWISS FILMS, Filmatique presents a collection of striking and formally accomplished works from a new generation of Swiss filmmakers.
A special screening of Katharina Wyss' acclaimed Sarah Plays A Werewolf examines the precarious nature of female adolescence as a high school student searches for meaning in a cold and dignified Swiss town. Cherry Pie, Lorenz Merz's portrait of a woman on the run across northern France, features a raw and riveting performance by Lolita Chammah, one of the country's rising stars. Two films set in Zurich revolve around crimes either real or imagined— Strangers, Lorenz Suter's stylish homage to film noir, follows a man living in self-imposed solitude until he finds himself implicated in a disappearance, while Cyril Schäublin's detached and darkly humorous satire Dene Wos Guet Geit (Those Who Are Fine) explores the lives of characters both central and oblique to a confidence scheme in Switzerland's largest city.
Comprised entirely of first films and with an emphasis on female protagonists, Filmatique's Swiss Films Series posits a fascinating landscape of the world's oldest democracy— a society occupied, in turn, by themes of surveillance, identity, technology, mental health, capitalism, privilege, and the fate of humanity in an increasingly digital world.
Sarah Plays A Werewolf, Katharina Wyss / Switzerland-Germany, 2017
Sarah is a solitary 17-year old girl. She struggles to connect with people, a reality her listless bourgeois family fails to understand. Sarah wishes she had a boyfriend, a friend, someone she can confide in. Instead, she struggles with depression, a perpetuating loop that only serves to isolate her further. Yet Sarah finds an outlet in her high school drama class— when she performs she becomes someone else entirely, another character able to give truth to her most hidden desires. But sublimation through art leads Sarah down a dangerous path to a secret only she can keep.
An expertly modulated study of the barriers between performance and life, brilliance and madness, Sarah Plays A Werewolf dissects mental illness and the rules of social decorum through the eyes of one radically rebellious young woman. Katharina Wyss' debut feature premiered at Venice's Settimana della Critica, Zurich, São Paulo, Seville, Film Comment Selects - Lincoln Center, Taipei; Saarbrücken, where it won Best Actress; Khanty-Mansiysk, where it won Best Film; and Achtung Berlin where it won Best Director.
Strangers, Lorenz Suter / Switzerland, 2017
Tamás lives in Zurich, alone— by choice. He has never wanted to get too close to people. All this changes when he meets Norika, a beautiful woman who appears in his life almost by chance. But she just as quickly disappears, leaving no trace. Before he knows it, Tamás has been implicated in Norika's disappearance by her sister Annika, who claims Tamás had made a habit of following them. Reality seems to shift based on each person's perspective, casting the nature of the crime into progressively murky territory.
Staging a love triangle in the cold, impersonal world of contemporary Switzerland, Strangers is a bewitching noir-ish meditation on the ambiguity of existence and truth. Lorenz Suter's first feature premiered at Madrid, Hofer, Solothurner Filmtage, and Montréal Festival des Films du Monde.
Cherry Pie, Lorenz Merz / Switzerland, 2013
In a loveless relationship, Zoé ditches her faceless boyfriend in a cheap motel room and sets off north without a penny to her name. She hitch-hikes, pilfers a meal from a gas station, encounters strangers who could be her next ride or a passing glimpse, ambling toward some unknown destination. At the end of her pilgrimage, Zoé reaches the English Channel; on the ferry a woman mysteriously disappears. A new coat gives Zoé a new identity, but even in a new country she's not quite sure she's escaped herself.
Featuring a tour-de-force performance by Lolita Chammah, one of France's rising young stars, Cherry Pie delves into the complex psychology of a woman set adrift. Lorenz Merz's first film premiered at Locarno, Cameraimage, Rotterdam and Valencia, where it won Best Film.
Dene Wos Guet Geit (Those Who Are Fine), Cyril Schäublin / Switzerland, 2017
Alice works in a call center in the outskirts of Zurich. She spends her days conversing with strangers, selling them deals on telecom and insurance packages. After work she meanders seamlessly through the city's parks and various security checkpoints; she also meets elderly women to collect envelopes filled with cash. In fact, Alice has been calling these lonely women posing as a granddaughter in urgent need of money, a scam that has quickly brought her a fortune. Two police detectives are alerted to the fraudulent scheme, and set off in search of the perpetrator in an anonymous city.
Stylish and wry in equal measure, Dene Wos Guet Geit (Those Who Are Fine) offers a sharp yet expansive view of contemporary existence by analyzing humanity's relationship with capital, technology and urban space. Cyril Schäublin's first film premiered at Rotterdam, Thessaloniki, New Directors / New Films, Mar del Plata, São Paulo and Shanghai; Uruguay International Film Festival, where it won a Special Mention for Best First Film; Edinburgh, where it won Best International Feature Film; Murcia IBAFF, where it won Best Feature; and Locarno, where it won a Special Mention for First Feature.