Country Spotlight: Switzerland — Far

BY Robert BellPublished Jun 7, 2012

Known for clocks and chocolate, the reason the Swiss aren't recognized for filmmaking is abundantly clear after watching this disappointingly adequate collection of shorts. Noted specifically as Far, most of these shorts reflect on nations other than their own, bringing into question their collective sense of identity, which may or may not be touched upon in the Near collection.

First up is the phenomenally dull and narcissistic personal photo album ramble Good Bye Mandima, which features a dry narrator prattling on about his childhood in Mandima. It's unfortunate that it starts the program, since it would be a good short to use for a bathroom break.

Slightly better is the animated escapist fantasy, Romance. Not going to quite the same heights at the Catherine Breillat namesake, this short tackles the emotional turmoil that mortal terror creates when an airplane experiences some turbulence.

It's a more serious and mature short than the live action, attempted comedy of Snowing in Marrakech, which relies on the sort of humour that features elderly people acting sassy and young while a son convinces his elderly (and presumably drugged) father that a ski vacation in Morocco is actually in Switzerland.

Sharing a similar sense of broad humour is Las Pelotas, wherein two soccer dads decide to pork each other's wives when a scout tells them that together their sons would make one kick-ass soccer player. It's a playful romp about the male love of sports rather than a terrifying parable of how misguided the "well-adjusted" really are.

Going the route of gay coming-of-age story, with a fun Nazi backdrop, is Prora, which features two boys talking about boobs and blowjobs ad nauseum. For those in the know, this can only mean one thing, especially when one of the boys is wearing a Joey Jeremiah hat.

The most provoking and creative short comes at the end of the program. Yuri Lennon's Landing on Alpha 46 starts with a single long take of an astronaut preparing for landing. But after this array of lights and sounds passes, a very unique twist comes about, questioning the nature of space exploration and our concept of selves. This sci-fi entry almost makes the preceding worthwhile.

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