29 October 2005 | GMeleJr
Hilarious and intelligent
This modestly produced film from Switzerland is both hilarious and intelligent. The film's low budget does unfortunately show in its production values. But no matter. The result is one of the most original and funniest films in the S. Paulo Film Festival. The picture also addresses serious issues regarding Switzerland in general, and its artists in particular. The wonderful use of the Swiss-German dialect is another original feature, though it may be lost for viewers not familiar with the issue.
That said, it's not for everyone obviously, and that's perhaps the film's biggest statement; that any film to be financed and get made requires a huge compromise so it can "be for everyone", more or less. This message is expressed in a script where 2 veteran actors want to make a new, different Swiss film. So, they set off in search of a director.
They seek the writer, director and producer of the film itself - Clemens Klopfenstein, who sits as a juror in this year's S. Paulo Film Festival where I screened the film yesterday. And his character uses his own real name in the movie.
The two middle age decadent actors have worked with the director (decades ago), and after a wild ride from German-speaking to Italian speaking Switzerland, they find him & try to convince him of this new idea for a film. It would an epic road movie across Africa, with beautiful women, and other exotic and wild details.
The production would be a sequence to a successful film they made 10 years before - The Silence of Men. But the two cannot persuade him to accept their idea. On the contrary, both are persuaded to perform in the director's new feature with a religious theme entitled St Francis Birds Tour, in which Ursula Andress delivers an interesting cameo as the Virgin Mary.
For a screen test, the actors are dressed as monks, & taken to a forest which is literally a labyrinth. It does not take them too long to find out that, in reality, they have fallen into a trap. The director disappears as though by magic, and they find themselves lost, with no idea of how to find their way out. With this unfortunate but hilarious situation, the plot of the film really takes off and leads to the absurd, but very funny conclusion, which I won't spoil for you, of course. Definitely a 10 in my book.