Wet Sand, Pas de deux and Beautiful Minds win big at the Solothurn Film Festival
- Films by Elene Naveriani, Elie Aufseesser and Bernard Campan were chosen to represent the crème de la crème of Swiss cinema
The 57th edition of the Solothurn Film Festival culminated in a closing ceremony announcing the winners of the three prestigious prizes: the Prix de Soleure, the First Work Award and the Audience Award. The festival pays tribute to Swiss films with a forward-looking approach.
Wet Sand [+see also:
interview: Elene Naveriani
film profile], by Georgian director and former student of Geneva-based institution HEAD Elene Naveriani, was this year’s recipient of the Prix de Soleure (endowed with 6,000 Swiss francs). The jury composed of composer Olivia Pedroli, director Nicole Vögele and writer and director Matthias Zschokke praised the “tenderness and the evidence employed in the film to tackle and destroy taboos without a moment’s hesitation (…)” not to mention “the skill by which the director manages to make sounds, images and music speak and meld together in such a way that time expands to its outermost limits and our bodies sing”. Wet Sand is a touching and aesthetically potent film, further enhanced by incredibly sensitive actors and actresses (Bebe Sesitashvili, Megi Kobaladze, Gia Agumava, Giorgi Tsereteli and Kakha Kobaladze) who are both emotionally powerful and credible in the roles of individuals warring against a society which seeks to exclude them.
Presented in an international premiere within Locarno 2021’s Cineasti del Presente section, Wet Sand unfolds in a village in Georgia, close to the Black Sea, whose inhabitants live behind a facade of harmony which crumbles as soon as one of them passes away. This sad event reveals a web of lies built upon a brutal form of mutism. Thanks to the courage of characters who have deliberately chosen not to give in to the conformism around them, this silence will be broken and tenderness will take the place of violence, albeit at a high price. A brave and wonderfully human tribute to Georgia’s queer community (and others), Wet Sand was awarded first place on Solothurn’s podium.
For its part, Pas de deux [+see also:
film profile] by Elie Aufseesser was awarded the First Work Prize (endowed with 20,000 Swiss francs) which is dedicated to first or second films by Swiss directors and producers. Pas de deux tells the story of two brothers who are grappling with life’s inevitable challenges, challenges which each of them tackles in their own way, challenges which seem to divide them but which actually strengthen their bond even further. The jury composed of the Belfort Film Festival’s artistic director Elsa Charbit, director of photography Caroline Steinbrecher and producer Flavia Zanon chose to honour this intense and personal film which explores the concept of family in all its fascinating complexity.
The Audience Award (endowed with 20,000 Swiss francs), meanwhile, went to Beautiful Minds [+see also:
film profile] by Bernard Campan (a French director, actor and screenwriter) and Alexandre Jollien (a Swiss philosopher and writer), which is a fiction film homing in on a fortuitous meeting between Louis, a director of a funeral home, and Igor, an errand boy who suffers from childhood cerebral palsy. The two protagonists set off on a journey to the South of France, a journey which will encourage them to think about life and the beauty of our everyday existence which we tend to take for granted.
The awards in question are as follows:
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