– After two years of pandemic, the festival is ready to resume in its classic format by offering the public a total of 217 films, selected from 642 applicants
This article is available in English.
After a 2022 edition marked by an interim artistic and administrative directorship temporarily replacing Anita Hugi (who was artistic director between 2019 and 2021), the Solothurn Film Festival is returning to a “normal” situation between 18 and 25 January following the appointment of Ticino-born Niccolo Castelli as artistic director and Monica Rosenberg as administrative director. Another new development this year is the introduction of a series of meetings entitled Fare Cinema [Making Films]which looks to lend a voice to specialists who will discuss specific aspects relating to “making films”.
The program of the Solothurn Film Festival’s 58th edition promises to be particularly varied, both in terms of content and form, “with an incredibly high number of fiction films, a great quantity of films revolving around strong female characters, and above all, daring, original stories”, to quote Castelli. The growing presence of films by young directors and of low-budget productions in the festival’s competitive sections is another feature of this 2023 edition.
The opening film this year, which is also competing for the Prix de Soleure, is This Kind of Hope by Pawel Siczek (Switzerland/Germany). The movie follows the Belorussian activist, and former diplomat and Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Andrei Sannikov, who hasn’t stopped fighting – lately as a stateless person – for a democratic Belorussia, since resigning from public office in protest against the Lukashenko dictatorship.
Strong and hard-hitting subjects are also the focus of the seven films (five documentaries and two fiction films) which are in the running for the prestigious Prix de Soleure, starting with The Land Within [+lire aussi :
interview : Fisnik Maxville
fiche film] by the Swiss director born in Kosovo Fisnik Maxville, who previously triumphed in the First Works Competition in Tallinn’s Black Nights Festival. The movie follows two boys grappling with a past tainted by crimes which they’re not yet able to speak of. There’s also The DNA of Dignity [+lire aussi :
fiche film], the debut feature film by the Swiss director residing in Sarajevo Jan Baumgartner. Previously presented in Locarno’s Critics’ Week, this is another film exploring the darkest recesses of the Balkan War, a conflict which caused the disappearance of thousands of people, many of whom are still missing today. Until Branches Bend by Swiss-Canadian director Sophie Jarvis, which premiered at the TIFF, likewise tackles a topical theme, though this time in fiction form, namely the threat posed by invasive species. More intimate but no less incisive, there’s also Big Little Women by Nadja Fareswhich focuses on feminist struggles against the patriarchy; Trained to See – Three Women and the War, which homes in on the first female war correspond and their particular approach to photography; and The Cursewhich is a poetic and tortured autobiography by its two directors Maria Kaur Bedi and Satinder Singh Bedi.
In terms of the Audience Award, this section consists of four fiction films and just as many documentaries, six of which are screening in world premieres. Among these we find two portraits of extraordinary characters, seen through the eyes of those who knew them best, namely I Giacometti, which is Susanna Fanzun‘s second feature film, and The Mies van der Rohes by Sabine Gisiger, which is a family chronicle telling the life story of the women who were close to the legendary architect: his wife, his two daughters and his lover. Both movies are produced by Dschoint Ventschr.
The First Work line-up, meanwhile, which was introduced three years ago, consists of seven films, including four world premieres: Peripheral Love by Luke Walpothwhose short films have scooped awards in prestigious festivals such as Locarno, Sitges and Clermont-Ferrand; retreat by Leon Schwitterwhich explores a father-son relationship; The Deminers, which is Michael Urs Reber‘s first documentary; and Theory of Change by Dennis Stauffer.