×

Cannes Critics’ Week First Timers Flurin and Silvan Giger Discuss ‘Schächer’

Barely in their 20s, brothers Flurin and Silvan Giger ask ancient questions with a fresh young voice

For the young Swiss brothers Flurin and Silvan Giger, filmmaking is all in the family. Between them the two produced, wrote, and directed their second short, “Schächer,” which world premiered at this year’s Cannes Film Festival Critics’ Week.

The two have defined roles in their partnership; Flurin writes and directs, Silvan is the director of photography, and the two produce together. Flurin, 22 and Silvan, 21, first found international success as teenagers when, in 2016, their debut short “Ruah” premiered at the Venice Film Festival.

As producers, it is incumbent on the pair to raise their own funds for their work. Flurin explained to Variety that the money behind “Schächer,” “was not raised in the normal ‘Swiss’ way. We put our own money into this film, got some sponsors and some small funds from foundations. It all came together like a puzzle.”

When it came to the behind-the-scenes work, once again family was key. “To build the sets our whole family was invited,” Flurin explained, “and everybody helped to make it possible.”

“Schächer” is a love story hiding under the ghostly sheet of a thriller, culminating in a twist that is simple in theory, yet could be profound – it’s up to critics to judge – in practice. The film never leaves the snowy mountain cabin of its elderly protagonists, who are visited in the middle of the night by a ski-masked intruder. From there, the film explores grief through a combination of sometimes-uncomfortable interactions and solitary moments, before revealing what really happened on the film’s first night.

The Gigers’ use stationary shots to frame the interactions of characters, but also to build suspense. Danger, perceived or real, always feels just out of the picture, enhanced by reflective surfaces which often display almost-ethereal images.

“The idea for the film came from very personal questions I had, and still have,” Flurin says. “Not long ago I lost my beloved grandparents. Their death came so unexpected and was very hard for me to deal with. I had so many questions about it but couldn’t find answers to all of them.”

Those questions are the thesis of “Schächer,” asked subtly through its narrative which invites the audience to ask questions of their own. It’s a dialogue that Flurin says he wants to foster, although he admits answers may be unlikely.

“In many places the subject of dying and death is treated as taboo,” he says. “I think it’s because of the many unanswered questions that come with death. With the film, I would like to inspire the viewers to think about these questions and encourage them to discuss… and I will just listen in silence.”

The brothers are now working on their first feature, “The Last Field,” a 19th century period piece which will follow a peasant couple who live in a world convinced it is coming to an end.

“It’s an apocalypse film, but not set in the future like current end-of-the-world films,” the Gigers explain, “but rather in the past. It will focus on how brutal people can be when they think they might lose everything.”

The Giger’s are aiming to shoot in 2019.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • The Great Outdoor documentary series about

    Farm to Picture: Documentary Series 'The Great Outdoor' Chronicles a Life Gone to Pot

    Cannabis cultivation in the Emerald Triangle, the area in Northern California that has long been a go-to for growers, has a starring role in a new documentary series called “The Great Outdoor.” Funded by Flow Kana, one of the state’s leading cannabis flower brands, filmed by David Zlutnick, and executive-produced by Flow Kana co-founder Flavia [...]

  • 1982 El Gouna Festival

    Egypt's El Gouna Film Festival Puts Arab Helmers at Center Stage

    The upbeat state of Arab cinema will be on the screen and in the balmy air at Egypt’s El Gouna Film Festival (Sept. 19-27), which is steadily gaining traction in its stated ambition to become a key platform and solid driver for Middle-East producers. “This year was one the best for Arab cinema,” says Intishal [...]

  • Star Skipper Paramount Animation

    Meet Star Skipper, Paramount Animation's Magical New Trademark Logo Character

    Studio logos are powerful signals to audiences.  Multiple generations of moviegoers flipping through channels or scanning streaming titles have frozen at the sight of a desk lamp hopping across the screen, because it means a Pixar movie is about to play. Likewise, when a young boy lounging inside a crescent moon casts his fishing line into [...]

  • Sybil

    Cannes Competition Movie 'Sibyl' Finds North American Home With Music Box (EXCLUSIVE)

    Music Box Films has acquired the U.S. and Canadian rights to Justine Triet’s darkly comic drama “Sibyl,” which competed at Cannes and had its North American premiere at Toronto in the Special Presentation section. Represented in international markets by mk2, the film follows the ambiguous relationship between Sibyl, a jaded psychotherapist (Virginie Efira, “An Impossible [...]

  • Kent Jones Directs 'Diane'

    Kent Jones to Exit New York Film Festival (EXCLUSIVE)

    In a surprise move, New York Film Festival’s director and selection committee chair of seven years Kent Jones will step down following this year’s 57th edition, which runs Sept. 27-Oct. 13. The departure comes as Jones’ feature filmmaking career is taking off. Issues of potential conflicts of interest have arisen as his work has moved [...]

  • Ava-Mark-Split

    Ava DuVernay, Mark Ruffalo Selected for SAG-AFTRA Foundation Honors

    Ava DuVernay and Mark Ruffalo have been selected by the SAG-AFTRA Foundation for its fourth Annual Patron of the Artists Awards. The awards will be presented on Nov. 7 at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in Beverly Hills. The show benefits the nonprofit SAG-AFTRA Foundation and is not televised. Previous SAG-AFTRA Foundation Patron of the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content