Filmmaker sheds light on dark side of Lausanne

A scene from Raphael Sibilla's film, "117 Police Secours", which is one of the highlights of the Nyon film festival. Raphaël Sibilla

Film coverage of Lausanne police answering night emergency calls is expected to be one of the highlights of this week's annual documentary festival in Nyon on Lake Geneva.

This content was published on April 23, 2001 minutes

Director Raphaël Sibilla spent a year making the film, "117 Police Secours". Its title refers to the telephone number in Switzerland for emergency calls to the police.

"At first I sensed a deep mistrust by police officers of what I was doing," says Sibilla. "But by going out with them night after night, not only did they accept me, we also became friends."

At times dramatic - especially in shots he took of the city's drug scene - Sibilla has made a film which sheds light on a dark side of Lausanne. But it also reveals the human side of the uniformed officers, who must respect the law when confronted with violent situations.

One sequence was shot in an apartment after domestic violence had been reported there. The husband is beating his wife, but the police manage to separate the couple and calm them.

Sibilla made personal sacrifices by raising SFr25,000 ($14,700) to make the film at a time when the average budget for a Swiss television documentary is SFr300,000 ($176,500).

"I applaud his efforts," says Nyon festival director, Jean Perret, adding that "117 Police Secours" has a spontaneity which is lacking in many other European documentaries costing a great deal more.

Over 100 films from 28 countries will be screened at the festival, whose maxim has been "truth can be stranger than fiction" since it was founded in 1968.

swissinfo with agencies

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