Next year's Expo.02 will feature something special in Yverdon-les-Bains - an interactive love story for which the audience gets to choose the ending.
Swiss film director Fulvio Bernasconi and scriptwriter Grischa Duncker are offering the audience four stories, three chapters, and 14 main characters. The cinematic experience unfolds across a dozen screens.
The setting is a small mountain village in the Engadine, the time, a weekend in a Grand Hotel. The audience can hear the four official Swiss languages, and choose among any combination of the four love stories -- each chapter of which is shown in a separate cinema.
The audience can choose among Francesca and Pietro, who are getting married; the successful banker Agnes, who leaves her boyfriend and seeks refuge in the mountain village; Erika, who meets her long lost love in the mountains; and the teenager Lisa, who brightens up her boring family holiday by meeting Reto, a young waiter.
The viewer watches the first chapter of a story, but if he or she doesn't like it, the viewer is then free to wander into the second chapter of another of story. Amazingly, the story line will still make sense.
Scriptwriter Grischa Duncker thinks the decision-making process reflects the 12 main characters as they constantly face difficult decisions. "I hope the audience and the main characters in the film will reflect each other," he told swissinfo.
The movie theatre, with its 12 screens, was the most expensive element of the movie. According to Duncker, it cost three times as much as the entire budget for the film, which makes it unlikely to become a format for the future. However, Duncker would be pleased if someone copied his idea.
"Of course, it would be nice if someone tried a similar thing. But as the actual cost of the building is quite substantial I guess it will be quite a unique event."
by Billi Bierling