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Cinema's Choice: GRÜTLI Geneva

The Cinémas du Grütli offer a rich, exciting programme, nourished by heritage and emerging filmmaking. The programme is solely focused on the pleasure of cinema, and aimed at all audiences, and is structured around film clubs, repertory cycles, films for young audiences and arthouse films. Alfio Di Guardo and Sarah Maes present their choice.

The Charmer (2017)
Milad Alami
Denmark
102′
Esmail, a young and charming Iranian lives in Denmark where he works as a mover. However, in the evening, he frequents the posh places in the city to seduce women, hoping to get married and obtain a residence permit. When he meets Sara, everything changes. On the verge of achieving his goal, he is hunted down by a mysterious man...
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«Esmail, an Iranian immigrant in Copenhagen, will do anything for a residence permit. Rather than writing a social chronicle, Milad Alami, a Swedish director born in Tehran, offers a cruel and unusual tale about the difficult situation of an immigrant.»
I Pugni in Tasca (1965)
Marco Bellocchio
Italy
108′
Ale, a deeply disturbed young man subject to seizures, benignly decides to murder members of his dysfunctional family for altruistic reasons.
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«First film of the director Marco Bellocchio draws the dark portrait of a decadent and suffocating family. It is again here the image of a youth which tries to extricate itself from an old crumbling world. »
with bonus
Cairo Station (1958)
Youssef Chahine
Egypt
73′
Bonus:
Melodrama and thriller, social drama and love story in one, the masterly feature film by the Egyptian director Youssef Chahine, made in 1958, is located entirely on the station grounds. The old Madbouli is the owner of a kiosk at Cairo's main railway station. One day he finds a half-starved, poor man at the edge of the tracks. Madbouli feels sorry for the sad-looking, limping farmer Kenaoui and hires him as a flying newspaper salesman. At work, Kenaoui meets the beautiful Hanouma every day, who also earns her living at the station by supplying travellers with lemonade drinks. Kenaoui falls for the cheerful woman and makes it his goal to marry her. Lonely and in obsessive longing, he cuts out lightly dressed women from magazines in his hut at the edge of the train station in the evening, hanging his walls with them. Although he knows that Hanouma is already promised to the suitcase porter and trade unionist Abou Serih, one day he reveals his feelings to her and proposes to her. Her rejection, soaked with mockery and ridicule, drives Kenawi further into a rage-drenched obsession for Hanuma. Restored version.
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«In 1958, Yousef Chahine made a punchy, humanistic, violent and sulphurous film. It caused a scandal but it revealed it to the international critics. A masterpiece by the great Egyptian director, who also shows here his immense talent as an actor.»
Félicité (2017)
Alain Gomis
Democratic Republic of the Congo (Kinshasa)
124′
Félicité is a proud and independent woman who works as a singer in a bar in Kinshasa. Whenever she goes on stage, she appears to leave the world and her everyday worries behind. Her audiences are quickly infected by the rhythm of her music and her powerful, melancholy melodies. But then one day Félicité’s son has a terrible accident. Whilst he is in hospital she desperately tries to raise the money needed for his operation. A breathless tour through the impoverished streets and the wealthier districts of the Congolese capital ensues. One of the bar’s regulars is a man named Tabu who has been known to get carried away in every sense of the term. Tabu offers to help Félicité. Reluctantly, she accepts. After his spell in hospital, Félicité’s son has a hard time picking up his old life, but it is lady’s man Tabu of all people who manages to coax him out of his shell. Félicité’s sparsely furnished flat with its permanently defunct fridge becomes a mini utopia in a country that holds no hope for most of its population. The trio forms an eccentric community thrown together by fate, each of whom is free to go their separate ways together.
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«Félicité is a courageous and determined woman who never compromises her freedom, even in the worst situations. A most inspiring portrait.»
«In winter 1979, a small theatre company presented a play in honour of Mao Tse Tung. But changes happen that will change everything. Really? With "Platform", Jia Zhangke signs a masterpiece that reviews ten years of a country in full mutation.»
«With "Touki Bouki", Djibril Diop Mambety gives a new face to African cinema. His heroes, Anta and Mory, embody a youth that has no more illusions but a colossal thirst for freedom.»
Lerchen am Faden (1969)
Jiri Menzel
Czech Republic
94′
Larks on a String is a Czech film directed by Jiří Menzel. The movie was banned by the Czechoslovak government. It saw release in 1990 after the fall of the Communist regime. Menzel tells the stories of various characters considered bourgeois by Czechoslovakia's communist government in the 1950s, who have been forced to work in a junkyard for the purposes of re-education.
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«At the beginning of the 1950s, under the communist regime, a group of "bourgeois" worked on its ideological rehabilitation in a scrap yard. A cheerful humour masks a sharp criticism of a totalitarian society. Czechoslovak censorship blocked the film for more than twenty years. Golden Bear in Berlin in 1990.»
Euphoria (2006)
Ivan Vyrypaev
Russia
71′
In an amazingly beautiful place, on the bank of the wide Don, in a remote, half-destroyed village, surrounded by only steppe for hundreds of miles, a real drama takes place. An unexpected passionate love between a young man and a married woman literally destroys the lives of not only the main characters, but also their close ones.
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«In the heart of the Russian steppes, a young man falls in love with a young woman married to a drunkard. A radical love story in the land of vodka, "Euphoria" is a miracle.»
Drifting Clouds (1996)
Aki Kaurismäki
Finland
95′
Ilona Koponen (Kati Outinen), a head waitress at Dubrovnik restaurant, is married to Lauri (Kari Väänänen), a tram driver. The couple live in a small, modestly furnished apartment in Helsinki. As they both come home from work late one night, Lauri surprises Ilona with a new television which he purchased on store credit. There is a short discussion between the two regarding their ability to meet their financial obligations but they agree that the TV payments are manageable. Next day, as Lauri gets to work, he learns that the company will be laying off several workers due to non-profitability of certain tram routes and he is randomly chosen as one of the workers to be laid off. The day after Lauri has finished working his last scheduled shift Ilona is informed by the owner of Dubrovnik that the restaurant is being sold to a chain restaurant company and all the employees will be let go since the new company will be bringing in its own employees. Both of them set out looking for work immediately but with discouraging results. Lauri gets offered a job as a bus driver but is unable to pass the medical exam and subsequently loses his professional driver's licence. Ilona gets a job at a rundown bar/restaurant which doesn't even have a name and is owned by a tax evading crook. After 6 weeks of working there, the restaurant gets shut down by the state and Ilona does not get paid by the dishonest owner. During their search for meaningful employment, both Lauri and Ilona enter bouts of heavy-drinking, all the while running into their former co-workers who are dealing with similar difficulties. At one point, the two even sell their car and take the money to a casino in hopes of doubling the money but they, however, end up losing it all. Most of their furniture as well as the new TV that Lauri bought is repossessed by the creditors. One day, Ilona accidentally runs into Mrs Sjöholm (Elina Salo), her former boss. Sjöholm suggests that Ilona should open up a restaurant. Since Ilona does not have the financial means needed for such a venture, Sjöholm agrees to provide the capital for the restaurant to start operating with the understanding that Ilona will pay back the loan to Mrs Sjöholm. Ilona, humbled by her recent experiences, is initially reluctant to accept the offer for fear of the restaurant failing and her not being able to repay Mrs Sjöholm. She eventually does agree. Ilona names the restaurant Work and hires some of the staff from Dubrovnik, including the troubled chef Lajunen (Markku Peltola), plus Lauri. Filled with anxiety during a slow lunch hour on opening day, Ilona's worries quickly disappear as she watches the restaurant fill to capacity later the same afternoon. After receiving a call from a Helsinki union asking for a reservation for 30 people, Lauri and Ilona exit the restaurant and stand on the front steps appearing emotionless and looking at the skies as more people enter the restaurant.
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«A commonplace chronicle of a couple's descent into the underworld of unemployment, "Au loin s'en vont les nuages" is nevertheless a tender and moving film that does some good! »
The Prince of Nothingwood (2016)
Sonia Kronlund
France
86′
Director Sonia Kronlund accompanies the Afghan director, actor and screenwriter Salim Shaheen in her film Nothingwood. He is a well-known figure on the film scene in his home country, but hardly known abroad. About a hundred kilometers away from Kabul, Salim Shaheen comes to show some of his 110 films and to shoot the 111th in the process.
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«Sonia Krolund, journalist and producer of the ingenious radio show Les Pieds sur terre (France Culture) takes us on a dizzying journey to Afghanistan, where one of the world's most prolific directors will stop at nothing to make films and satisfy his compatriots' desire for fiction. An exciting documentary about the power of film! »
The Party (2017)
Sally Potter
United Kingdom
71′
In a private home, various individuals think they’re coming together for a party. A series of revelations results in a huge crisis that throws their belief systems, and their values into total disarray.
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«The director of «Orlando» tells us what happens when a family reunion degenerates. This jubilant, funny, explosive in camera, filmed in sublime black and white, is obviously not an example to follow.»
Firemen's Ball (1967)
Milos Forman
Czech Republic
73′
A volunteer fire department throws a party for their former boss with the whole town invited, but nothing goes as planned.
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«Things go haywire at the Czech Firemen's Ball! A brazen youth refuses to comply with the standards imposed by an authoritarian and sclerotic regime. And then a gentle wind of freedom blows.»

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