Published Jun 05, 2012Unlike the Switzerland spotlight program, Far, which features an abundance of crappy comedies in foreign locales, Near focuses on the country itself, saying little about their collective identity other than their arts scene seems to be much like everyone else's: sanctimonious and political. Fortunately, both watches and chocolate are represented in the program.
Amidst the crap is the showcase short, On the Line, which is a half-hour film about a department store security guard that spends his days watching and following a retail checkout girl. Riding the subway at the same time as her nightly and making excuses to run into her, he passive-aggressively leaves a man he believes to be her suitor in harm's way one night, only to wind up having his guilt exacerbated when she reaches out to him in her time of grief. Well-acted and careful with details, this sharp morality tale makes this program worthwhile in and of itself.
Objection VI is at least an intriguingly made short, being told entirely from a first-person POV, documenting (and idealizing) the experience of a Nigerian immigrant in Switzerland. Since the world of liberal arts likes to ignore political realities that suggest people aren't all happy-go-lucky and consistently honest, said immigrant is portrayed as an absurdly naïve caricature victim to exacerbate the supposed harshness of the immigration process.
This sanctimonious and smug sensibility also permeates Bon Voyage, a pen-animation of the many trials and tribulations involved in immigrating to Europe.
Stylistically intriguing is metaphorical short It's Me. Helmut, where constructed sets fall away from an older man as his past reveals itself and escapes him. Gosh, it all sure does go by quickly.
On the comic front, Ashbrothers finds two brothers trying to fulfill their father's dying wish. A grandfather clock, a stinky sandwich and public urination factor into the forced shenanigans on display, generating levity for weaker viewers that need a break from seriousness in order to remain placated and apathetic.
And lastly, Station features melting Swiss chocolate and a train! Choo-choo!