The Solothurn Film Festival is about to find its audience


– From January 19 to 26, the festival once again takes over the city’s cinemas with no less than 157 films, half of which are in French-speaking Switzerland

Aya by Lorenzo Vamontone and Thomas Szczepanski

Jointly led for the first time by Marianne Wirth, David Wegmüller (the two interim artistic directors of the festival) and Veronique roos (interim administrative director), who replace Anita Hugi, the Solothurn Festival is getting a makeover and leaves behind an inevitably virtual 2021 edition. Loving blacksmith Set to kick off this year, the second upcoming feature film courtesy of Eva vitija who won the Solothurn Prize in 2016 via his first film My Life as a Movie – How My Dad Tried to Capture Happiness [+see also:
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If the particularity of this 57th edition (from January 19 to 26) is the massive presence of films from Romandie (almost half of the selected ones), but also from Ticino – 78 out of 157 – the significant presence of the producers who are at the origin of nearly half of the films selected this year is equally striking. This is an important step that will hopefully one day help us leave behind the cumbersome construction of the binary genre (in the world of cinema and elsewhere). This year’s opening film, which sheds new light on the life and work of American writer Patricia Highsmith, a long-time resident of Ticino, fits perfectly with this perspective.

The three competitive sections – the Solothurn Prize, the Audience Prize and the First Film Prize – are each expected to host eight films this year, including many world or national premieres. As for the prestigious Prix de Soleure, in addition to the essential Olga [+see also:
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through Elie Grappe, which represents Switzerland in the Oscar race, and Wet sand [+see also:
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through Helene neveriani, which was featured in Locarno’s Cineasti del Presente line-up, no less than five world premieres and a national premiere are on the program. Three of them approach the subject of migration from different angles: Aya through Lorenzo Vamontone and Thomas szczepanski (news) concerns the relationship between two souls who did not seem destined to meet (Lydie and Zimako, the latter a young illegal immigrant from Togo); Rotzloch through Maja Tschumi explores the daily lives of four young refugees struggling with their own natural tendencies and desires; and An open sky through Charlie petersmann examines the theme through the experiences of a group of foreign workers struggling with their own multiple identities. Versatile director Maurizius Staerkle Druxsecond feature film of The art of silence Will also be a world premiere in this section, with an emphasis on French mime Marcel Marceau, while (Im) mortal through Lila ribi, which also offers her second feature film, will see the director evoke death with her hundred-year-old grandmother.

Two world premieres, meanwhile, should honor the Audience Award: Everything starts through Frédéric Choffat, who had already participated in Solothurn in 2019 with his first feature film My little [+see also:
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(done next Julie gilbert), and A provisional story through Romed Wyder (the director of the mighty work Dawn [+see also:
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), who follows an atypical couple who almost unwittingly discover each other. In Swiss premiere, the public will be entitled to the last film of the Italian-Swiss director Silvio soldini 3/19 [+see also:
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, which also harbors a clash between surprisingly different social existences brought together by fate. Alongside the well-known names, we will also see those of two young directors who offer their very first feature films: Lost in paradise through Fiona ziegler and Murmurs of war [+see also:
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through Florian Hoffmann, both revolving around the existential torment of their protagonists as they are torn between two distant lands. To complete the group we find Beautiful spirits (recently presented in world premiere at Les Arcs) by Bernhard Campan and philosopher and writer Alexandre jollien, Stand up my beauty through Heidi specogna (Locarno Critics’ Week) and The mushroom speaks [+see also:
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through Marion neumann (Visions du Réel Festival, CPH: DOX etc.).

As for the First Film Prize, three of the eight films competing for this prize are screened as a world premiere: Do you remember me? by documentary filmmakers and activists Desiree Pumping and Helena muller, which courageously explores the theme of female genital mutilation; No two through Elie Aufseesser, who picks up the link between two brothers with diametrically opposed aspirations; and Forma del primo movimento by the Ticinese Tommaso Donati. Swiss preview screening, in the meantime, we will find Lux through Mateo ybarra and Raphael Dubach, which was presented in the 2020 Locarno Hybrid Edition and, more recently, at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.

Versatile artist Jürg Hassler will be this year’s guest of honor.

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(Translated from Italian)


Darcy J. Skinner