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Country in Focus

Despite being a rich country with a small population, the Swiss film industry is dependent on government subsidies to fund cinematic ventures.

india Updated: Oct 10, 2003 23:03 IST
PTI

When in 1991 Xavier Koller's Journey of Hope won the Oscar for best foreign-language picture, it gave tiny Swiss film industry its greatest boost since Alain Tanner debuted his 1976 award-winning Jonah Who will Be 25 in the Year 2000.

In 1992 Switzerland commemorated its seven hundredth anniversary, and Pro Helvetia, the Swiss arts council, celebrated the occasion worldwide by exporting one of the country's most lauded cultural contributions – retrospectives of Swiss films.

Despite being a rich country with a small population, the Swiss film industry is dependent on government subsidies to fund their films. There is a sealing to the public monies that can be awarded to each film project and with three cultures - French, German and Italian competing for the same amount of francs - life certainly isn't easy for the filmmakers.

To promote the marketplace means producing work in several languages, addressing distinct cultures. Hence, cinema co-productions are the order of the day.

Swiss themes are evident in introverted stories and characters. In almost all Swiss movies there is a critical stance on society, married to a concern for the privacy of the individual. The Swiss are a stubborn lot who build their own universe. Add to that complete non-conformist attitude and you have on your hands a proud little country, striving to make its presence felt all over again.

As a nation that makes 900 films annually, salutes Switzerland by making it the Country in Focus at this year International Film Festival of India.

Feature Films
Azzurro by Denis Rabaglia (2000)
Burning in the windby Silvia Soldini (2002)
A Little Colour by Patricia Plattner (2002)
Secret Love by Christoph Schaub (2001)
Utopia Blues by Stefan Haupt (2001)

Short Films
Hotel Belgrad by Andrea Staka (1998)
Pastry, Pain and Politics by Stina Werenfels (1998)
Schenglet by Laurent Negre (2002)
Summertime by Anna Luif (2000)
The Engadinder by Anna Schmid and Tania Stocklin (2001)

First Published: Oct 10, 2003 23:03 IST