Review: ‘Welcome to Switzerland’

Stereotypes of Swiss life are sent up with diminishing returns in cross-cultural satire. Contempo tale of three great-grandchildren of a Swiss chocolate magnate who learn of an unexpected inheritance functions well when lampooning differences between the French and the Swiss. Will fare fine in French-lingo territories and in multilingual Switzerland.

Stereotypes of Swiss life from chocolate to yodeling are sent up with diminishing returns in “Welcome to Switzerland,” a fitfully amusing cross-cultural satire. Contempo tale of three adult great-grandchildren of a Swiss chocolate magnate who learn of an unexpected windfall inheritance functions well enough when lampooning behavioral differences between the French and the Swiss. But the emotional truth is paper thin in parallel storyline of two Swiss guys fighting over the same French woman. Well-cast romp will fare fine in French-lingo territories and in multilingual Switzerland, but will play as forced farce elsewhere.

With French girlfriend Sophie (Emmanuelle Devos) in tow, nerdy ethnologist Thierry (Denis Podalydes) returns to Switzerland for his grandmother’s funeral. Two million Swiss francs are his — but only if sternly eccentric uncles Kurt (Peter Wyssbrod) and Walter (Walo Luond) find Thierry and his siblings’ future plans sufficiently in keeping with traditional Swiss values. Obliging and hunky cousin Alois (Vincent Perez) gives Thierry and Sophie a crash course in mountain trekking, cow-milking and fondue prep while putting the moves on Sophie. Mocking credits sequence and animated travel interludes are clever.

Welcome to Switzerland

France - Switzerland

Production

A Pathe release (in France) of an Arena Films presentation of an Arena Films, Aecade, Vega Film, Television Suisee Romande co-production with Canal Plus and Cinecinema. (International sales: Pathe Intl., Paris) Produced by Bruno Pesery. Co-producer, Ruth Waldburger. Directed, written by Lea Fazer.

Crew

Camera (color), Myriam Vinocour; editors, Herve De Luze, Elise Fievet; music, Loik Dury, Laurent Levesque; set designer, Olivier Radot; costume designer, Caroline De Vivaise; associate producer, Helene Delale. Reviewed at Cannes Film Festival (Un Certain Regard), May 13, 2004. Running time: 107 MIN.

With

Vincent Perez, Emmanuelle Devos, Denis Podalydes, Walo Luond, Peter Wyssbrod, Marianne Basler, Scali Delpeyrat, Julien George, Carola Regnier.
Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading