Cinéaste et ethnologue (1930-2013)
Switzerland 1994. 16mm/Beta/VHS, colour, 90 min.
For the first time, an independant movie team was able to follow the Swiss Army school of recruits for fusiliers and machinegunners, as from February to May 1993, in Colombier (Switzerland),
The recruiting Officer in charge said
'When a young man hesitates, I suggest infantry because that is where I need them most'. So 35% of the recruits find themselves enlisted in infantry. Contrary to the summer recruit school, where the students represent a high proportion, the winter school consists of youngsters with jobs that are very much struck by the economic crisis, or with no profession at all. 40 % of the section that was filmed found themselves unemployed at the end of the school.
The film reflects the atmosphere of this school of recruits and the wording which is proper to this particular surrounding. Although we were able to film freely, the accent was put on a certain number of sequences, such as : recruitement, 0 advancement' of three recruits (compulsory non?commissioned officers school), inspections, taking?up and taking?back of the flag, the visit of a priest for service on Ascension day.
How do they react ? They, the most of whom of a professional army, in which they would not take part.
|Script||Jacqueline Veuve, collaboration: Rmmanuelle de Riedmatten|
|Versions||français; ST: english, deutsch|
|Sales DVD/Video||DVD, VHS [order|
|Festivals/Prizes||Quality award (Swiss Federal Office of Culture). Festivals: Munich; Leipzig; Namur; Reality Film, Paris; Amasculture-Portugal. Shown abroad by Pro Helvetia.|
|Production||Aquarius Film, Les Productions JMH SA|
|World Rights||Aquarius Film, Les Productions JMH|
|Distribution Switzerland||Aquarius Film Production, CH-1808 Les Monts-de-Corsier|
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|Literature||B.Galland, Une femme de cinéma, 2003, p. 31ss.|
It's hard to really describe Swiss army life. The only one who did it was Max Frisch, and the only one who makes us live it, is Jacqueline Veuve with her film! One can only feel the greatest tenderness for our army of good citizens. It is the perfect image of our country: sublime and absurd.
Le Matin, 1.5.94 (Patrick Nordmann)
Nothing happens, no one blows up, the little Swiss citizen-soldiers of this crystal clear documentary prove in this precise and old fashioned chronicle that they are pretty useless and, like their comrades in other nations, fritter away their life doing nothing but waiting ...
Midi Libre (F), 11.6.94 (H.-J. S.)