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SOLOTHURN 2022

The Solothurn Film Festival gets ready to reunite with its audiences

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- From 19-26 January, the festival will take over city cinemas once again, showcasing no less than 157 films, a record half of which hail from French-speaking Switzerland

The Solothurn Film Festival gets ready to reunite with its audiences
Aya by Lorenzo Valmontone and Thomas Szczepanski

Jointly steered for the very first time by Marianne Wirth, David Wegmüller (the festival’s two acting artistic directors) and Veronika Roos (acting administrative director), who are replacing Anita Hugi, the Solothurn Film Festival is shedding its skin and leaving an unavoidably virtual 2021 edition behind it. Loving Highsmith [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
 is set to kick things off this year, the second feature film to come courtesy of Eva Vitija who won the Solothurn Prize in 2016 via her debut movie My Life as a Film – How My Father Tried To Capture Happiness [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
.

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Whilst the distinctive feature of this 57th edition (running 19 - 26 January) is the overwhelming presence of films hailing from French-speaking Switzerland (practically half of those selected), as well as from Ticino - 78 out of 157 - the significant presence of women producers who are responsible for almost half of the films selected this year is equally striking. It’s an important milestone which will hopefully, one day, help us to leave the cumbersome construct of binary gender behind us (in the world of film and elsewhere). This year’s opening film, which sheds new light on the life and work of American writer Patricia Highsmith, a long-term resident of Ticino, is very much in line with this prospect.

The three competitive sections – the Solothurn Prize, the Audience Award and the First Film Award – are each set to accommodate eight films this year, with numerous world or national premieres among them. As for the prestigious Solothurn Prize, in addition to the unmissable Olga [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Elie Grappe
film profile
]
by Elie Grappe, who’s representing Switzerland in the race for the Oscars, and Wet Sand [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Elene Naveriani
film profile
]
by Elene Neveriani, which was presented in Locarno’s Cineasti del Presente line-up, there are no less than five world premieres and one national premiere on the agenda. Three of these home in on the topic of migration from different perspectives: Aya [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
 by Lorenzo Valmontone and Thomas Szczepanski focuses on the relationship between two souls who didn’t seem destined to meet (Lydie and Zimako, the latter a young illegal immigrant from Togo); Rotzloch [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
 by Maja Tschumi explores the daily lives of four young refugees wrestling with their own natural propensities and desires; and À ciel ouvert [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
 by Charlie Petersmann examines the theme via the experiences of a group of foreign workers grappling with their own multiple identities. Versatile director Maurizius Staerkle Drux’s second feature film L’art du silence [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
 will likewise world premiere in this section, focusing on French mime artist Marcel Marceau, while (Im)mortels [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
 by Lila Ribi, who is also offering up her second feature, will see the director discussing death with her 100-year-old grandmother.

Two world premieres, meanwhile, are set to grace the Audience Award: It All Begins [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
by Frédéric Choffat, who previously took part in Solothurn in 2019 with his first feature My Little One [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
(made alongside Julie Gilbert), and Une histoire provisoire by Romed Wyder (the director of the powerful work Dawn [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
), which follows an atypical couple who discover themselves almost without meaning to. In a Swiss premiere, audiences will be treated to the latest film by Swiss-Italian director Silvio Soldini 3/19 [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
, which also homes in on a clash between strikingly different social existences brought together by fate. Alongside known names, we’ll also see those of two young directors offering up their very first feature films: Lost in Paradise [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
by Fiona Ziegler and Whispers of War [+see also:
film review
interview: Florian Hoffmann
film profile
]
by Florian Hoffmann, both revolving around their protagonists’ existential torment as they’re torn between two far-apart lands. Rounding off the group, we find Beautiful Minds [+see also:
trailer
film profile
]
(only recently presented in a world premiere at Les Arcs) by Bernhard Campan and philosopher and writer Alexandre Jollien, Stand Up My Beauty by Heidi Specogna (Locarno’s Critics’ Week) and The Mushroom Speaks [+see also:
film review
trailer
interview: Marion Neumann
film profile
]
by Marion Neumann (Visions du Réel Festival, CPH:DOX etc.).

As for the First Film Prize, three of the eight films battling it out for this award are screening in world premieres: Do You Remember Me? by documentary-makers and activists Désirée Pomper and Helena Müller, which bravely explores the theme of female genital mutilation; Pas de deux [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
 by Elie Aufseesser, which picks over the bond between two brothers driven by diametrically opposed aspirations; and Forma del primo movimento [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
by Ticino-born Tommaso Donati. Screening in a Swiss premiere, meanwhile, we’ll find LUX [+see also:
film review
film profile
]
 by Mateo Ybarra and Raphaël Dubach, which was presented in Locarno’s hybrid 2020 edition and, more recently, at the Thessaloniki Documentary Festival.

Versatile artist Jürg Hassler is set to be this year’s guest of honour.

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(Translated from Italian)

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