Swiss films

Here's a collection of some works by Swiss filmmakers that have survived beyond their time of origin, telling stories from the period they were produced in, portraying people and asking questions about the country and its society. You will find outstanding documentaries as well as feature films.

Passagen (1972)
Fredi M. Murer
Switzerland
45′
H.R. Giger became known all over the world as the designer of the aliens in Ridley Scott's feature film ALIEN. In this documentary about H.R. Giger's work, which was made many years before, the artist's creative process and the interplay between conscious and unconscious influences are the focus. Statements by experts and contemporaries address the question of the artist's position and social responsibility.
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Max Frisch, Citoyen (2008)
Matthias Von Gunten
Switzerland
94′
Max Frisch was the last great Swiss intellectual whose "voice" was widely heard and appreciated beyond the borders of his country: a character like none can be found today. Against the backdrop of the late 20th century, the film follows the story of Frisch.
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The Song of Mary Blane (2019)
Bruno Moll
Switzerland
86′
The painter from Solothurn (CH) Frank Buchser was sent to the USA in 1866 to paint a large painting of the "Heroes of the Civil War" for the future Council of States Hall in Bern. Initially Buchser was busy portraying politicians and generals in the spirit of his clients. More and more, however, he became interested in the Indians expelled to the reservations and in the living conditions of the slaves who had just been freed. Years earlier, fascinated by Moorish culture, Frank Buchser rides disguised as a Turkish sheikh to the Moroccan town of Fez, which is forbidden to Christians under death penalty. The Swiss filmmaker Bruno Moll (Pizza Bethlehem, Tunisreise) tells the two adventurous journeys of the rebellious and controversial artist. The film narrative begins with film documents of the riots in Charlottesville in August 2017 and the diary entries made by Frank Buchser in 1869, when General Lee was his model for the portrait. In a large flashback the film tells Buchser's story of his stay in Andalusia and Morocco in 1858, returns with him to his homeland and closes with his North American adventure.
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Urs Fischer (2010)
Iwan Schumacher
Switzerland
102′
The 36-year-old Swiss artist Urs Fischer, who lives in New York, has been enjoying international fame for some years now. This documentary follows him during the preparation of his exclusive exhibition in an American museum and thus takes us into the daily life and work of an artist.
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Wild Plants (2016)
Nicolas Humbert
Switzerland
109′
Wild Plants are plants that seed themselves on fallow land, take possession of seemingly uninhabitable terrain and create new habitats. But wild plants are also people who create their own utopias and become impulse generators for others. People live in many scattered places around the world and projects are growing in which botanical and biographical uncontrolled growth are combined.
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Markus Raetz (2007)
Iwan Schumacher
Switzerland
75′
The Swiss artist Markus Raetz is an established figure in the international art world. For the film by Iwan Schumacher, the artist from Bern is for the first time giving a camera team an insight into his 40 years of work.
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Passion (2019)
Christian Labhart
Switzerland
80′
Un film sur ma façon de vivre cette douloureuse réalité que le monde d’aujourd’hui n’est pas celui dont j’avais rêvé il y a 50 ans. Les images du monde d’aujourd’hui se télescopent avec des souvenirs fragmentaires, des textes poétiques et la Passion selon saint Matthieu de J. S. Bach. Un essai filmique sur la fragilité de mon existence à l’heure du capitalisme débridé.
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Where We Belong (2019)
Jacqueline Zünd
Switzerland
78′
Parents split up, a family falls apart. Two separate worlds emerge from what once was considered a unity. In constant transition, children now live between two homes. WHERE WE BELONG approaches their reality and focuses on how fragile children are, but also how brave, smart and funny they respond to their situation.
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Picture of Light (1993)
Peter Mettler
Switzerland
87′
An hallucinatory tale of a filmmaker’s journey to Canada’s Arctic in search of the Northern Lights – an encounter with the gulf between the knowable and the ineffable, between humankind’s need to capture and control Nature, and Nature’s refusal to be caught… aurora borealis, the lights with no bodies pouring colours from the sky… more special than any special effect…
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Baghdad in My Shadow (2019)
Samir Jamal Aldin
Switzerland
104′
A failed author, a wife in hiding, a clandestine gay IT-specialist meet in an Iraqi café in London. Incited by a radical Sheik, the author's nephew attacks them and turns their lives upside down.
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Von der Rolle (2019)
Verena Endtner
Switzerland
88′
What happens when fathers do more family work than mothers? An overview of families where traditional roles have been reversed. The director's experiences with children are reflected in the film in the form of short animations.
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Architektur der Unendlichkeit (2018)
Christoph Schaub
Switzerland
85′
Temporality and age are inherent in every object and creature and, depending on one’s outlook, may transcend to infinity. Schaub explores, together with the architects Peter Zumthor, Peter Märkli and Alvaro Siza Vieira, the artists James Turrell and Cristina Iglesias and drummer virtuoso Jojo Mayer, the magic of sacred spaces, defined here as far more than church buildings. Who owns spirituality?
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Amiet (2011)
Iwan Schumacher, Cornelia Strasse
Switzerland
52′
Cuno Amiet lived from 1868-1961, yet seen today many of his pictures have a contemporary edge. Amiet was a Swiss pioneer of modern painting along with Ferdinand Hodler and Giovanni Giacometti. The film visits three highly individual Amiet collectors in Dallas, Geneva and Studen, near Biel. Surrounded by Amiet’s works they tell us what part these paintings play in their lives.
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L' Apollon de Gaza (2018)
Nicolas Wadimoff
Switzerland
79′
In 2013, an ancient statue of Apollo, the god of arts, beauty and divinations, is found off the coast of Gaza. When it disappears under strange circumstances, rumors quickly spread regarding this mysterious treasure. Both an investigative film and a reflection on history, The Apollo of Gaza immerses us in the little-known reality of a land ravaged by wars and blockades.
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Il mangiatore di pietre (2018)
Nicola Bellucci
Italy
104′
Cesare, a former human trafficker, finds the corpse of his nephew Fausto a remote Piedmont valley. In search of the murderer, he himself is suspected. He is also pressured by a young, rebellious villager: Sergio, who wants to escape from the valley and his father, wants to bring refugees abandoned on an alp across the border. In order to help the boy and the refugees, Cesare confronts his fate…
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Matlosa (1981)
Villi Hermann
Switzerland
94′
Alfredo seems to lead the life of so many Ticinese families born in the valleys, who now only go back to their native village for the weekend. But Alfredo doesn’t longer experiences the journey as a form of escapism, but as an obsessive rite which is repeated over and over again. Alfredo has lost his own identity.
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Cronofobia (2018)
Francesco Rizzi
Switzerland
90′
Suter is a lonely guy, constantly in motion, escaping his true self. During the day, he travels through Switzerland, creating new identities and incognito evaluating the quality of customer service in shops and hotel rooms, while at night, he secretly observes the life of another lonely person: Anna, a rebel struggling with complicated grief. But this fragile balance is soon destroyed, when Anna finds out about Suter’s dark secret.
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Spuren und Geschichten (2018)
Francis Reusser
Switzerland
73′
An essay on the tale of a filmmaking everyman. A personal story and a brief history of image, spanning from 1947 to 2017, told through his favourite movies, some of which are little known. Life and art, intertwined. From the freedom to create to the consumer society that devastates dreams just as Coca-Cola dissolves bones.
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Transformance (2017)
Alan Smithee
Switzerland
68′
For the first time in the history of mankind, we are forced to seriously consider the future of the Earth, and to do so in a global context. We need new energy concepts: energy production, distribution and consumption must be fundamentally redefined and organized. Despite all the challenges, there are also unique opportunities in this transformation process. How do we tackle the future? Which concepts are promising? Where do we stand?
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Love Me Tender (2019)
Klaudia Reynicke
Switzerland
83′
Suffering from agoraphobia, Seconda is unable to leave her house. When she finally succeeds, new challenges push her limits even further.
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Avant la fin de l'été (2017)
Maryam Goormaghtigh
France
80′
After five years studying in Paris, Arash has not adjusted to life there and has decided to return to Iran to live. Hoping to change his mind, his two friends Hossein and Ashkan convince him to take a last trip through France.
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Chris the Swiss (2018)
Anja Kofmel
Switzerland
90′
Croatia, January 1992. In the midst of the Yugoslav Wars, Chris, a young Swiss journalist is found dead in mysterious circumstances. He was wearing the uniform of an international mercenary group. Anja Kofmel was his cousin. As a little girl, she used to admire this handsome young man; now a grown-up woman, she decides to investigate his story, trying to understand what really was the involvement of Chris in the conflict
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O Fim do Mundo (2019)
Basil Da Cunha
Switzerland
104′
Spira comes home from a juvenile detention center and reconnects with his loved ones in Reboleira (Lisbon), a slum on the verge of being destroyed. Kikas makes it clear that he’s not welcome.
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Insumisas (2018)
Fernando Pérez, Laura Cazador
Switzerland
95′
Santiago de Cuba, January 19th, 1819. Coming from Lausanne, Enrique Faber, a Swiss doctor and surgeon, arrives on the island, a Spanish province, hoping to find his son, who has been kidnapped…
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Hexenkinder (2019)
Edwin Beeler
Switzerland
97′
The movie recalls children who suffered mental and physical harm both during the last century, particularly in religious orphanages, and during the time of early modernperiod witch-hunts. It shows that the mindsets and behavioural patterns of both time periods are more alike than one might think.
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Köpek (2015)
Esen Isik
Switzerland
98′
An ordinary day in the megacity of Istanbul: Ten-year-old Cemo sells paper tissues in the streets, Hayat is controlled by her husband and transsexual Ebru sells her body. All three have a secret love and they do everything to satisfy their longing, if only for a moment. An authentic, delicate and unsettling story about love, death and the Turkish society at the beginning of the 21st century.
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Zürcher Tagebuch (2020)
Stefan Haupt
Switzerland
101′
What's in the air? - A cinematic diary: personally anchored, at the same time political and social, with the courage for imbalance, for irritating simultaneity of inner and outer world, everyday life and state of emergency. The film spins a multi-layered web, captures feelings, thoughts, contradictory tendencies in a poetic and experimental way: an emotional reflection of this ambivalent time between powerlessness and departure.
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The Circle (2014)
Stefan Haupt
Switzerland
102′
Zurich, 1958. The bashful teacher Ernst Ostertag and the German cabaret artist Röbi Rapp get to know one another in the Swiss underground organisation called “Der Kreis.” As the two dissimilar men defend their love, they witness the heyday and decline of this Europe-wide pioneering organisation for gay emancipation.
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Pane e tulipani - Breads and Tulips (2000)
Silvio Soldini
Switzerland
112′
An endearing light comedy about a woman who spontaneously becomes a resident of Venice after her family left her begin. While enjoying the wonderful people she meets she achieves a new life and the first time independent of her family.
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Utopia Blues (2001)
Stefan Haupt
Switzerland
94′
The story of Rafael, a fun-loving youth on the verge of manhood who is trying to make his dream of total freedom become reality. Determined to conquer the world with his Utopia Blues Band at any cost, Rafael's philosophy is that “life is a game”. But the game unexpectedly becomes bitter earnest. How much freedom is permitted?
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Handicapped Love (1978)
Marlies Graf Dätwyler
Switzerland
118′
Four young people with physical disabilities try to overcome their isolation and the difficulties of living together. In a vacation home, they talk openly with people with and without disabilities about the challenges they face in relationships and sexuality.
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Another history (1993)
Tula Roy
Switzerland
176′
Another History tells Swiss history between 1910 and 1991 from a female perspective. In her three-part documentary, Tula Roy presents interviews with politically active women as well as contemporary witnesses and uses visual and audio documents to illuminate the struggle of women for their rights, their left-wing movements, labor struggles and anti-fascist commitment.
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Max Haufler, der Stumme (1983)
Richard Dindo
Switzerland
92′
Max Haufler hated acting, but while he left his mark on Swiss filmmaking of the 1950s with his character roles, success as a film director eluded him. He tried in vain in the last years of his life to film the novel "Der Stumme" by Otto F. Walter. Max Haufler fought for his dream - until it broke him.
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Seelische Grausamkeit (1961)
Hannes Schmidhauser
Switzerland
99′
On a summer morning, the opening of the trial in the Zurich District Court is announced for 8 o'clock. On trial is the divorce case of Marlene Faber and Nick Merk. The couple is waiting outside the courtroom for their divorce and is reviewing their marriage once again: From the honeymoon over the first quarrels until the end.
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La Salamandre (1971)
Alain Tanner
Switzerland
114′
Rosemonde the Salamander is a young girl who gets by thanks to low-paid jobs of all kinds. She is suspected of attempting to kill the uncle with whom she lives. A journalist and a writer are hired to get to the bottom of this mystery, as the basis for a television film scenario. They are unsuccessful however. The truth about Rosemonde and her special appreciation of life continue to elude these two amateur detectives.
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Die Herbstzeitlosen (2006)
Bettina Oberli
Switzerland
86′
Since the death of her husband, Martha, 80-year-old, has lost her zest for life. In her village in the Emmental, especially her friends Lisi, Hanni and Frieda are concerned about her. After discussion, they decide to help her realise a long-held dream: to open a lingerie boutique. The news causes consternation in the little town of Trub.
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Charles mort ou vif (1969)
Alain Tanner
Switzerland
91′
The film paints the portrait of an old man who decides to abandon his comfortable bourgeois way of life and live with a Bohemian couple. There he rediscovers his freedom to think and his joie de vivre.
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The Lacemaker (1977)
Claude Goretta
Switzerland
103′
The shy Pomme (Isabelle Huppert) meets the philosophy student François on holiday in Normandy. François becomes her first lover and she moves in with him: head over heels in love, the young and inexperienced couple return to Paris with big dreams. But their social and cultural differences stand in the way of happiness. The student she had unconsciously saved herself for will, without meaning to, ruin Pomme.
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The Reformer - Zwingli: A Life's Portrait (2018)
Stefan Haupt
Switzerland
128′
The film "Zwingli - The Reformer" presents Zwingli's life from a unique perspective: from the point of view of his wife Anna, who remembers their life together after Zwingli's death - a life of infinite love and mutual incomprehension, marked by both happiness and tragedy.
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A Jew Must Die (2016)
Jacob Berger
Switzerland
71′
A film based on Jacques Chessex' novel of the same title; featuring André Wilms as Chessex and Bruno Ganz as Arthur Bloch, Swiss Jew killed by Swiss Nazis.
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Die vierte Gewalt (2018)
Dieter Fahrer
Switzerland
98′
The internet has changed everything, also for journalism: business models are falling by the wayside, news is available for free, anywhere and at any time. I accompany journalists in their daily lives, see how they struggle, and I do what they also do: I observe and ask, also question myself, my fascination and my suspicion. I, too, use the net with ease. I am a user – and I am used.
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