Wonderland, an apocalyptic journey beyond political correctness
by Muriel Del Don
- LOCARNO 2015: The collective film of ten young Swiss directors, which was screened in competition at Locarno, is a direct and refreshing blow to the stomach
Wonderland [+see also:
interview: Carmen Jaquier and Lionel R…
film profile], the only Swiss film to have its global premiere in competition at the Locarno Film festival, is the fruit of a collective effort. Ten young Swiss directors: Lisa Blatter, Gregor Frei, Jan Gassmann, Benny Jaberg, Carmen Jaquier, Michael Krummenacher, Jonas Meier, Tobias Nölle, Lionel Rupp and Mike Scheiwiller, put their creative minds together to give life to a refreshing and innovative project with impact.
Their idea was to join forces and create a sort of collective piece that would allow them to reflect on the society surrounding them (Swiss society) without taboo. What hides behind the perfection and apparent harmony of a stable and thriving nation like Switzerland? Their film is perhaps the (poisoned) fruit of a general feeling of oppression and a healthy desire to bring ‘political incorrectness’ to the fore. The project was born from the meeting, at the HFF in Munich, of Jan Gassmann and Michael Krummenacher, who both wanted to turn an uncensored gaze on their country of origin and present their own personal vision of Switzerland.
Switzerland in the autumn, the cold is coming. A huge worrying black cloud suddenly appears on the horizon. Meteorological experts cannot explain the strange and unsettling phenomenon but one thing is certain: the cloud is getting bigger and soon reveals itself in all its destructive glory. The local people can only stand by and watch, powerless, as the storm develops. They react to the situation in different ways, ignoring it in a move of extreme hedonism, barricading themselves in their homes (after savagely ransacking the shops) or trying to flee abroad, that place that used to instil such fear but now looks like the Promised Land. The exhausting wait brings out the true nature of people, their repressed rage, their ill-disguised expectations and their deepest fears.
Wonderland is an apocalyptic film set in the middle of the pastoral Swiss landscape, a sort of ticking time bomb that explodes in the face of right-minded conformity. In spite of the violence (both direct and latent) that runs through the entire film, the languid and threatening images of both nature and the urban landscape convey the tormented and worried state of mind of the local people. The Switzerland represented in Wonderland can be compared to a sort of Noah’s Ark that has run out of space. But what happens when the Ark itself finds itself in trouble and risks sinking? Who will help safely steer it to port? Our young directors’ ‘Made in Switzerland’ film shows a social melting pot in which everyone suddenly finds themselves having to face the same inevitable disaster. Money, social status and cultural differences cease to be important, the only thing that matters is survival, at all costs. Wonderland brings us a horrific vision, at times deliciously obscene, of a country that has completely lost its identity, in which the ‘shield’ of perfection and balance is suddenly taken away. A breath of fresh air in an often overly oppressive world.
Wonderland is being sold internationally by WIDE.
(Translated from French)
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