LOCARNO — “Something is moving in the local film industry,” said on-the-rise Swiss director Lisa Blatter.
To wit: “New companies are breaking through which are built in a more collective way, directors-producers focusing on the quality of a cinema which can express a political voice or build on very personal perspectives,” she added.
Blatter could be describing her own career. Having directed one part of ‘Wonderland,’ a milestone 10-segment omnibus feature channelling the energies and dissent of a new Swiss generation of filmmakers. Lisa Blatter awaited solo debut, “Sketches from Lou” which opens this fall in Switzerland via classic arthouse distributor LookNow!, is a introspective portrait of Switzerland’s attitude towards romantic attachment.
“Sketches” depicts a nearly-30s couple –Lou and Aro– as they navigate the dilemmas and self-discoveries of passage to an adult commitment. Set in summer, and heading towards closure in fall, with a palette of dominant blues and greys, the intimate story is told with a methodical sensuality. It builds to a portrait of a couple which aims to be “a subtle and tender portrait of a generation who is too scared to love,” Blatter told Variety.
Produced by Zurich-based 2:1 Film, “Sketches” is backed by the Swiss Federal Film Funds BAK and the local fund Zürcher Filmstiftung.
“Few locations, a small cast, very small and family-like crew: Working like a family helps me focus on the directing and it lets me create an atmosphere for the actors to really live their characters,” Blatter commented.
For Blatter, artistic endeavour has always been a family concern given her writer father (Silvio Blatter, “Avenue America”) and artist mother (Mona Blatter). Graduating from Zurich’s University of Arts and Design in 2008, Blatter teamed with two other up-and-coming talents from Switzerland –Jan Gassmann and Julia Tal– to set up 2:1 in 2010, where she produced documentaries – such as Maurizius Staerkle Drux’s “Architektur Einer Familie: Die Böhms” – as well as Jan Gassmann’s Berlinale-premiered “Europe, She Loves.”
Blatter says she finds inspiration in Asian filmmakers – Hong Sang-soo, Kim Ki-duk or Hirokazu Koreeda. “I like movies that speak up, engage an audience, provoke sudden feelings…allow the spectator to leave the cinema being reminded to live, to think, to react and to love.”
She now plans one in this vein, “Puppets and Warrior.”
The project turns on a sense of “being a puppet in the system and having to fight for inner freedom. Heteronomy vs. self fulfilment,” she said.
“It plays with prejudices and dreams. It’s still in a very initial stage. But after this very slow and sensitive film [“Sketches”], I’d like to make a louder film.”