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Solothurn film festival keeps focus on stability

Solothurn film festival director Ivo Kümmer wants the event to maintain its continuity

(Keystone Archive)

The 36th annual Solothurn film festival gets underway this week with the organisers calling it a "rock of stability in the constantly evolving cinema world".

Its official programme includes 122 films and videos - almost as many as last year - with Swiss French-language films making up 30 per cent of the line-up.

Organisers expect the festival - which is not a competitive event - to attract some 30,000 spectators, about as many as attended the 2000 event.

"We are definitely focusing on stability," said its director, Ivo Kümmer, "The event's strength is not to hype up what will be going on or to do anything revolutionary. We aim to offer a certain degree of continuity."

Swiss films will be screened and numerous debates are planned, but few film premières are scheduled. Kümmer says Swiss premières are hard to come by, since producers and directors prefer to launch their new films before going to Solothurn.

Neither "Neutre", a film by the Geneva-based director, Xavier Ruiz, nor "Après la Reconciliation", by Anne-Marie Miéville, will be shown. "Lost and Delirious" by the Canadian-based Swiss filmmaker, Léa Pool, will also be missing from the line-up.

"The Solothurn festival is of no strategic interest," said Ruiz, whose film will shortly be released in French-speaking Switzerland.

Despite the fact that she won last year's Solothurn prize for best Swiss fictional film with "Emporte-moi", Pool has decided to debut her latest film at the prestigious Sundance festival for independent films in the United States.

The only film that will be launched at this year's festival will be "Birthday" by Lucerne-born Stefan Jäger. Produced in Germany, it's about a reunion of four old friends who meet up to celebrate their 30th birthdays.

On the documentary side, "Big Mac Small World" by Peter Gruyer, portraying six workers for the fast food chain, McDonalds, will have its first public screening.
As in previous years, Solothurn will include a large number of documentaries featuring artist portraits. Thirty such "true stories" are slated to be shown, compared to ten fictional films.

The festival's programme also features two cinematic retrospectives, one of which will honour the career of producer Marcel Hoehn. The other will take a look back at 30 years of cartoon movies.

swissinfo with agencies


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