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British film adds Spice to Nyon festival

There are 118 documentary films from 31 countries on show at this year's Nyon festival, reflecting the 31 years of the event on the shores of Lake Geneva. Most of the films, as is the tradition, tackle heavyweight political and social issues.

There are 118 documentary films from 31 countries on show at this year's Nyon festival, reflecting the 31 years of the event on the shores of Lake Geneva. Most of the films, as is the tradition, tackle heavyweight political and social issues.

Among them are several documentaries from Austria denouncing the society that spawned the far-right leader, Jörg Haider, whose Freedom Party is part of the governing coalition. The festival's director, Jean Perret, has hailed them as works of resistance.

Twenty-six films are taking part in this year's competition, but most of the attention will be on the British entry, "Geri", by director Molly Dineen. The Geri of the title is the pop icon and erstwhile Spice Girl, Geri Halliwell. Dineen's documentary provides a rare opportunity to watch an international star performing not only her songs, but also mundane tasks like washing the dishes.

Switzerland is represented in the competition by three films.

"Sanyu" is by the American-based director and photographer, Robert Frank. The film is a hommage to Frank's friend, the artist, Sanyu, who died in tragic circumstances in Paris.

The French capital also features prominently in "Les bas-fonds", by Denise Gilliand. The film-maker from Lausanne captures 30 homeless people as they rehearse a play by Gorki in a Parisian park.

The third Swiss offering is the ambitious "Jour de Nuit", by Dieter Fahrer and Bernhard Nick. The film is almost poetic in its scope, recreating the world of the blind by comparing and contrasting our different perceptions of darkness and light.

The Nyon film festival runs from May 1-7.

by Michael Mullane


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