A half-dozen mysterious twentysomethings skulk around a Swiss Alps cottage and talk about suicide in the keenly thesped angstfest “Sunny Hill.” A clear-eyed, startling cross between “Harold and Maude” and “The Blair Witch Project,” this drama will garner fest invites on Montreal word of mouth, with specialized theatrical possible and low-key cult ancillary in the cards.“Tomorrow we’re going to the place where we’ll jump,” announces obviously ill host Gabriel (Karsten Mielke) at their first dinner at his grandparents’ rugged mountain retreat. He soon becomes alarmed at their sudden lack of resolve: Party organizer Michael (Patrick Rapold) takes nothing seriously, while shifty videographer Rafael (Christian Weber) grows close to acerbic German-born Turk Anil (Maryam Zaree). Timid Maja (Uta Kargel) broods, single mother Jo (Araba Walton) gets designs on Michael and Gabriel’s cop pal Reto (Beat Marti) noses around. Commercial helmer Luzius Rueedi keeps a refreshingly tight reign on the talent, who craft vulnerable, sympathetic, completely believable characters. Tech package is tops, led by the vivid lensing of Marco Barberi and an expressive score featuring thesp Rapold on piano. Pic, named after the cabin, was shot in 10 days.
A Collective (in Switzerland)/Cine Global (in Germany) release of a Collective, Snap Film, Bossa Films production. (International sales: the Collective, Zurich.) Produced by Philip Delaquis, Min Li Marti, Stefan Zuber. Directed by Luzius Rueedi. Screenplay, Gabriella Mueller-Meixner, Ruedi, Christian Weber.
Camera (color, HD), Marco Barberi; editor, Isabel Meier; music, Federico Bettini, Roland Schmid, Jan Mielke; production designer, Marlise Isler; costume designer, Isler; sound, Juerg Lempen; assistant director, Claudia Bedertscher. Reviewed at Montreal World Film Festival (First Films World Competition), Aug. 30, 2008. German dialogue. Running time: 88 MIN.
Karsten Mielke, Uta Kargel, Patrick Rapold, Christian Weber, Maryam Zaree, Araba Walton, Beat Marti.