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Comedian

German-speaking Switzerland's big hit this season (topping 150,000 admissions), "Comedian" makes light fun of death and aging in a retirement home while showing affection toward its cast of feisty old-timers. Cabaret artists Beat Schlatter and Patrick Frey, who starred in helmer Markus Imboden's 1996 hit "Katzendiebe," create amusing friction together, and pic's well-timed gags, lensed with minimum fuss, should have little trouble coaxing a laugh out of auds in related markets. Film is set to come out in Francophone, Switzerland, in October.

With:
With: Beat Schlatter, Patrick Frey, Brigitte Beyeler, Stephanie Glaser, Pinkas Braun, Mathias Gnaedinger, Walo Luond, Fritz Lichtenhahn. (Swiss-German dialogue)

German-speaking Switzerland’s big hit this season (topping 150,000 admissions), “Comedian” makes light fun of death and aging in a retirement home while showing affection toward its cast of feisty old-timers. Cabaret artists Beat Schlatter and Patrick Frey, who starred in helmer Markus Imboden’s 1996 hit “Katzendiebe,” create amusing friction together, and pic’s well-timed gags, lensed with minimum fuss, should have little trouble coaxing a laugh out of auds in related markets. Film is set to come out in Francophone, Switzerland, in October.

Roni Beck (Schlatter, who also co-scripted) is a wannabe comic who doesn’t even make his mother laugh. When the retirement home’s director, Serge (Frey), discovers Beck’s sleeping in his mother’s room, he puts him to work as an orderly, while going out on a limb to promote his showbiz career. Beck flops onstage, buildings burn, and funeral follows funeral as residents kick the bucket. A triangle develops among Beck, Serge and Serge’s neglected companion (Brigitte Beyeler), echoing the facetious rivalry of two oldsters for the affections of Beck’s mom. Pic’s black humor and casual approach to sex after 60 recalls Marco Ferreri’s 1991 “The House of Smiles.”

Comedian

Switzerland

Production: A Vega Distribution release of a Vega Film production. International sales: Vega, Zurich. Produced by Ruth Waldburger. Directed by Markus Imboden. Screenplay, Walter Bretscher, Beat Schlatter.

Crew: Camera (color), Rainer Klausman; editor, Bernhard Lehner; art director, Hans Peter Remund. Reviewed at Locarno Film Festival (Swiss sidebar), Aug. 10, 2000. Running time: 93 MIN.

With: With: Beat Schlatter, Patrick Frey, Brigitte Beyeler, Stephanie Glaser, Pinkas Braun, Mathias Gnaedinger, Walo Luond, Fritz Lichtenhahn. (Swiss-German dialogue)

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