Archive of films South of the Clouds / Au sud des nuages
Switzerland / France
2003, 78 min
Section: Another View
An elegiac road-movie about an old farmer from the Swiss mountains and his excursion to China. Every year a party of mountain-dwellers sets out on a “men’s outing” which is to be exceptionally long this time: by train through Berlin, Moscow and Ulan Bator to Beijing in China. Youth Jury Awards, Locarno 2003.
Every year a group of farmers sets out from the Swiss mountains on a joint excursion. This year their men’s outing will be somewhat extended because they want to go by train via Berlin, Moscow and Ulan Bator to Beijing. Seventy-year-old Adrien unwillingly decides to go after his whole herd has to be put down because of illness. However, the old gents gradually give up the journey – full of surprises and unexpected experiences – and return home. Only Adrien, who has never married and who has nothing to live for, reaches the goal. His journey takes him further than Beijing, to somewhere in the Chinese countryside where they organise traditional bullfights, like those in Switzerland. In this distant land, and in “his own environment”, the lonely old man comes to terms with his life... The filmmakers have used unlikely characters for their road-movie: old men, tired and neglected papas from the back of beyond. The indifferent foreign surroundings universally reflect their feelings of a vainly lived life. The tourist attractions of the big cities are played down and the story mostly takes place in railway stations, side streets, hotel rooms and train compartments. The film took the Youth Jury Award at the IFF in Locarno.
About the director
Jean-François Amiguet (b. 1950, Vevey) graduated in political science from Lausanne University. Filmography (feature films): Alexandre (1983; script, direction, production); Lounge Chair (La Méridienne, 1988, script and direction); the extensive documentary Le Film du cinéma suisse (1991, joint direction); L’Ecrivain public (1993, script and direction); the episode L’écharpe rouge from the five-part fictional television documentary Festival Stories (Histoires de fête,2000, direction); South of the Clouds (Au sud des nuages, 2003, direction).
About the film
Color, 35 mm
|Screenplay:||Anne Gonthier, Jean François Amiguet|
|Dir. of Photography:||Hugues Ryffel|
|Music:||Stimmhorn, Laurence Revey|
|Cast:||Bernard Verley, François Morel, Jean-Luc Borgeat, Maurice Aufair|