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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: <b>With:</b> Vincent Perez, Emmanuelle Devos, Denis Podalydes, Walo Luond, Peter Wyssbrod, Marianne Basler, Scali Delpeyrat, Julien George, Carola Regnier.
  • Music By: