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LOCARNO 2014 Out of competition

Yalom’s Cure, an antidote to our daily lives


- The latest effort from Zurich director Sabine Gisiger, thrilled the audience at Locarno thanks to its genuine potrait of an extraordinary character

Yalom’s Cure, an antidote to our daily lives

Despite the fact that Sabine Gisiger’s film was screened out of competition and not in the more “popular” international competition, the audience at the Locarno Film Festival still had to battle it out to get hold of the last available seats in an already crowded cinema. This shows how Swiss filmmaking is still able to attract an audience of movie-lovers as well as the merely curious in search of those emotions that only cinema can offer.

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Irvin D. Yalom, world-famous psychiatrist and author of numerous best-sellers, is considered to be the most influential psychotherapist in the US. A million copies of his books have been sold the world over, and critics and the public value them as quasi relics capable of bringing light to those who have been lost in darkness for a long time. His books have become fully-fledged manuals to help us understand and accept our faults, our dark side. Yalom’s Cure [+see also:
film profile
is more than just a simple biography; its power resides in its ability to make seemingly intimate and personal concerns universal. Sabine Gisiger guides us through the life of this extraordinary man with respect and decency: showing the public character but also and especially his deeper inner self, his rich spiritual life. The complexity of this dichotomy between professional image and private life (his role has a husband, father and guide) is artistically conveyed by the Swiss director who succeeds in captivating us, making us almost forget about the present and guiding us in a timeless way.

Yalom’s calm and deep voice lulls and reassures us, pushing us, almost against our will, towards our subconscious, putting us face to face with existential uncertainties that we often prefer to forget, out of fear, out of simplicity or simply because of a frenetic life that renders us unaware of the world but also of ourselves. Thanks to her latest feature film, Sabine Gisiger offers us a sort of psychoanalisis through cinema. She allows us, for a brief privileged instant to confront our inner self, with all our distress but also with our desires, our dreams. Irvin Yalom shows us how these fears that we believe to be intimate and personal are in effect universal and just how important it is to face up to them if we want to live in peace (or at least, in a more carefree way) with others and above all with ourselves. Might the magic of cinema not just be about opening windows onto the world, pushing us to reflect as much on society as on our intimate concerns? In any case Yalom’s cure has caused a ripple and the audience at Locarno gladly gave itself over to embark on an incredibly powerful mini human odyssey. 

Yalom’s Cure is co-produced by Das Kollektiv für audiovisuelle Werke, Vega Film and Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen SRG SSR and distributed worldwide by Autlook Filmsales.

(Translated from Italian)

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