Page 6, 25th January 1980

25th January 1980
Page 6
Page 6, 25th January 1980 — The Swiss

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The Swiss

roll in the way to a aisles

OF THE new movies, I find The Sivi.v.rmakers ("A Paris Pullman and Phoenix Last Huehiey) both the most enjoyable and the most original.

It is enjoyable partly because

the picehapreaLcitpeires aanrde ra la the picehapreaLcitpeires aanrde ra la

e usable and partly because the humour of the filn has a certain familiarity.

flInt TphoekSin'wgisrs.umnaakterts'he` sS s Ss w. st Its likeness to those happy old Ealing comedies which, with in tocent amusement took a "rise.. out of the British has already been noted in International Film Guide.

But the Swiss, the filrr stiggests, are not as simple as we might suppose. Everybody tsinks he knows the Swiss: they are rich, clean and bourgeois; famous for skiing. cheese, milk chotolate and cuckoo clocks. The 1. iglish — like :_ilirost every naticn. i the truth he told — think he Swiss WM. of doing almost anything is better than any other %nay.

According to the film this "Swissness" is deliberate hardline policy. "The Sirvissmokers" is original in handling a theme new to the movies: the very topical theme a naturalisation aid the assimilation of naturalised's protagOnist, he.

Sergeant Bodmer (Walo Isuond) would probabls be called an immigration officer in 8ritain. Bodmer is a stolid member of the Cantonal Police: His Special assignment is to check every one of the many applicants and applications for Swiss naturalisation.

Has the Italian pastrycook got over his natural add et on to spaghetti? Is the Yugoslav ballerina and her Turkish partner morally beyond suspicion :01 are they drug-trafficking with the East? Can the German couple be relied on to go on surmise up the Swiss flag in their p im back garden? And so on.

As we watch Bodmer and his younger, more susceptible assistant, Moritz (En il Steinherger) vetting their potential Swiss citizens, their work begins to seem a little less hygienic and democratic.

They work with powerful binoculars. They burst into fiats and houses at any incinVenient hour of day or night, dress or undress, until the r I quiet operations begin to look leSs like a simple certifying of the Swissness of new Swiss citizens then the tirelessly thorough ruthl f..sness of the KGB — though nevor quite solemnly enough to sp( il the fun by more than a shudder.

With some dismay I Ind myself out of step with critical consensus, including some of mY most admired colleagues or their ildmiration of John Htiston's Wise Blood ("AA" Camden Plaza, Odeon Kensington).

For once I feel at a disadvantage through r ot having read the original book by Flannery 0-Connor or indeed, any of this Catholic novelist's work, So what I saw. in the film — meticulously made of course and yet in the American Deep South where Flannery °tor nor lived — was a bleak and depressing view of the more lunatic fringes of religious mania in A inerica's Bible belt.

The hero, !laze!, new y 4 man's name to my knowlethe, Brad Dourif), returns irom an unidentified war bent or founding his eccentric sect "The Church of Truth Without Christ' , in this hotbed of religious sects.

Not having read the original, I found I had to turn to a publicity summary to learn the author's point of view. She is quoted as saying: "The religion of the South is a do it yourself religion, something which I as a Catholic find _touching and grimly comic. It's full of unconscious pride that Lands them in all sorts of ridiculous religious predicaments. "They have nothing to correct their practical heresies so they work them out dramatically . . , My gravest concern is always the conflict between an attraction for the Holy and the disbelief in it which we breathe with the ir of' the Ethics,"

But I should not have gland this from the film of Ise Blood. Admittedly the gr atest enthusiasts for Huston's are, in my experience, admire s of Flannery O'Connor's book. This only seems to demonstrate that the film is not self-sustaining.

In honesty therefore I can only recommend the film warm y to those who already admire the book.

A veteran director as re erect as Huston, and also sepses nted among the new movies, i the great though also greatly 'controversial I.Sspannies thleinIstejro, Jour ("X" WMeirstet nEtan)di,s nhoatvisnt rgi c tal yl r enttedwy °., jb et eh ne shown at the Curzon. But BUriuel is such an accepted old maser of the . cinema, and the technical originality and accomplish:nem of his work, so universally acknowledged, however mueh his views may be deplored, that A fullscale revival can alway$ be \\ elcoined — as can the pre enc.e of his beautiful star, Catheri e de Neuve. .

Horror films are a ta c I cannot share. Although The Amityville Horror ("X'., BC Shaftesbury Avenue, Fu ham Road) is said to be based o the lacts about a young couple who took a house of their dream and were driven out of it by its gr tesque happenings, the film fa Is to prove whetherfactual horror is more effective than the eXtravaganzati of imagination.

The happening in the hatinted or "pottergeisteci" house ar'e so unconvincing, so lacking in any thread of lucidity or coherence that it fails to come alive, ill you will excuse the pun, for al! its factual origins.

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