It is that time of the year again for the Solothurn Film Days, our very own film festival. It is a Swiss thing, no Oscars or Emmi awards, just eight days of Swiss films to be seen and yes, the Swiss do have a film industry. It has even happened that a Swiss film was nominated and won an Academy Award for the best foreign language film. One of our film directors, Xavier Koller, produced the film Journey of Hope in 1990 telling of a Turkish family that wanted a better life in Switzerland and the hardships they had crossing the borders illegally. However, such prizes are few and far between in the Swiss film scene. As I live in Switzerland, I am quite up to date on what our film industry produces, but understand that if you do not speak one of our 4 Swiss languages then the contents are lost on you.
However, for once in a year our town is transformed. Hotel rooms and even private rooms must be found for various film people who visit and want to see the films. It used to be a time when the bearded, extroverts were regarded as something completely different when they would take over the restaurants in the evening, but now Solothurn has enough of their own daily extroverts and it is no longer so special.
I was taking a wheeie in my chair through the town and as I approached our so-called Landhaus and I saw that preparations were already being made for the festival. The building where the films are shown was being decorated with various banners calling for some acrobatic actions of those decorating and a conquest of various angles aided by a crane.
Is it all worth it? Of course and the film showings are sold out regularly. We have even had some film “stars” attending various films that they appeared in. Maximillian Schell, Bruno Ganz and Marthe Keller to name those that might be known in other countries and have even appeared in international films. Bruno Ganz gave a very good performance of Hitler in the film “Downfall”. Marthe Keller played in many Ameican films one being “Marathon Mann” with Dustin Hofmann, and Maximillian Schell with his sister Maria belong to a well know film dynasty. Otherwise Swiss film stars are not so well known over the borders, but yes we have them.
Even our little market town of Solothurn can become an important place for various festivals. And then we have the national literature days where authors meet and give lectures. But enough, that is in a months time. I will be back.