The Fribourg International Film Festival (FIFF), which will run from 18th to 27th March 2022, unveils the line-up of this year's Decryption: Context culture section. As many as 30 of Switzerland's most high-profile comics have hand-picked classic comedies that probably could not be made today. FIFF will provide a space for constructive debate about these films, a space where these works are not viewed solely through the lens of contemporary societal and legal values, but are also seen in the context that prevailed at the time they were made. This year, FIFF pushes the envelope further with the launch of a new programme: Cutscene is a big screen showcase of Swiss video game design and development. A video game, Un dernier Film, has also been created especially for the Festival and ties in with this year's post-apocalyptic theme. It is available to play on the Cutscene page of our website.
Breaking the Context culture code
What should happen to vintage movies that reflect the sexist and racist views of the day? Should we relegate them to the scrapheap of cinema history? FIFF prefers education over erasure, context culture over cancel culture. Without an understanding of the past, there is no future; without memory, there is no progress. As Thierry Jobin, FIFF Artistic Director, explains, "Festivals are THE ideal space for debate and encounters. The pandemic has left society more polarised than ever. We have all spent too much time watching films on our own, and too many of us have overly relied on our social media feeds for entertainment. This is antithetical to the art of debating and the pleasure that it brings. It is a situation that has led to obscurantist acts, even by movements that announce progressive values: book burnings in Canada, the blacklisting of fairy tales and the snubbing of films. We wanted to mount a counter-response to these acts. So, we asked 100 or so Swiss comics to suggest vintage comedy movies that could not be made in 2022." A total of 30 kindly agreed, including Gardi Hutter, Joseph Gorgoni, Viktor Giacobbo, Claude-Inga Barbey, Yann Lambiel, Vincent Kucholl, Vincent Veillon and Emil Steinberger. Emil even went the extra mile and suggested new film titles and taglines. The top 10, as chosen by the comedy professionals, will be shown in the Decryption: Context culture section. As Jobin notes, "It is interesting that the overwhelming majority of these films are good old comedies from the 1970s and 1980s that are still regularly shown on TV and attract an audience. They are undeniably part of our heritage, our collective imagination. What we are doing is giving the public an opportunity to explore the context in which these films were made. In the process, they will realise that they were, in some cases, considered rather problematic even at that time."
FIFF will also stage a mock trial (in French) on Sunday 20th March: Le grand procès de la comédie – Une justice de parodie. Marc Boivin, a real-life judge and comedian from Fribourg, will preside over the humorous debate. All 10 films on the Decryption programme will stand trial for transgressing legal and cultural norms, including blasphemy, affront to public decency, discrimination and cultural appropriation. According to Boivin, "Laughter is a darkly humanist act. It is transgressive by its very nature because it can be inappropriate and even impermissible. But according to what standards? The law? A moral code? Given that these norms are constantly evolving, as well as the tendency to pass summary judgement on humour from these periods, it is interesting to shed some light, from a cultural perspective, on cult comedies that may well withstand the passage of time better than the challenges of changing generational mindsets." Stéphane Babey will serve as the lead prosecutor, "We need to impose a much more arbitrary censorship on these works from the past. That's good news for me because I have loads of ideas on how to do it!", quips the wisecracking editor in chief of the satirical magazine Vigousse. A series of witnesses will be called to the bar, including comedians Brigitte Rosset and Gérard Mermet. Boivin is delighted that "The final judgement will rest with the jury best equipped to decide, namely… the FIFF audience!”
Cutscene: big screen gaming at FIFF, 19th–26th March
Cutscene is not only an in-game movie; it is also the name of FIFF's collaboration with the Fribourg-based Swiss Game Center. This new programme showcases the best of Swiss video game development and design. For the duration of the Festival, the public will have the chance to watch and play Swiss video games on the big screen. The choice of most games reflects the central theme of FIFF 2022: post-apocalypse. The programme includes Mundaun, a hand-pencilled first-person horror adventure from Lucerne that was crowned best Swiss video game in 2021, and Ninza, a game developed in Fribourg. Cutscene, which will be based at auditorium 8 of the ARENA multiplex, is an immersive journey into the world of Swiss gaming, offering the public the chance to meet the developers who created the games they play, as well as attend talks, performances and tournaments. The Nouveau Monde cultural centre will also host a special gaming-themed party on Saturday 19th March.
In the run-up to the Cutscene launch, the public will be able to play a video game created by a team of Fribourg developers especially for FIFF. Un dernier Film focuses on a young woman, the sole survivor of an apocalypse, as she and her dog travel around the wasteland of Fribourg, desperately searching for films which are the only remaining vestiges of a world that no longer exists.
Complete programme for Cutscene, and computer game Un dernier Film available (free of charge) at fiff.ch/cutscene.
Download the press release in PDF
DÉCRYPTAGE: Context Culture
What should happen to vintage movies that are considered sexist or racist now, but not necessarily when they were made? Should they be relegated to the scrapheap of history? At FIFF, we prefer a context culture over cancel culture; education over erasure. Without the past, there is no future.
We asked 90 Swiss comics to name comedies that would not be made in 2022. A total of 39 did not reply. A further 21 explicitly refused to take part, either because they were fed up with debates on whether nothing is off limits in comedy, or because they stood up for the cancel culture movement. In the end, 30 kindly accepted.
|LES AVENTURES DE RABBI JACOB |
Gérard Oury, 1973
|LE GENDARME ET LES GENDARMETTES |
Jean Girault, 1982
|LES VALSEUSES |
Bertrand Blier, 1974
Bertrand Blier, 1976
|LA CAGE AUX FOLLES |
Édouard Molinaro, 1978
|LA GRANDE BOUFFE |
Marco Ferreri, 1973
|MONTY PYTHON’S LIFE OF BRIAN |
Terry Jones, 1979
|THE PARTY |
Blake Edwards, 1968
|C’EST ARRIVÉ PRÈS DE CHEZ VOUS |
Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, Benoît Poelvoorde, 1974
|MONTY PYTHON’S THE MEANING OF LIFE |
Terry Jones, 1983
|Le grand procès de la comédie - Une justice de parodie |
Sunday 20.03 | 18:00 - 19:30
Only in French
The thirty Swiss comedians who chose films for the section
Noël Antonini, Pierre Aucaigne, Stéphane Babey, Claude-Inga Barbey, Marc Boivin, Christophe Bugnon, Benjamin Cuche, Laurent Deshusses, Nathalie Devantay, Hans Fässler, Laurent Flutsch, Jean-Luc Fornelli, Viktor Giacobbo, Joseph Gorgoni, Kaya Güner, Carlos Henriquez, Gardi Hutter, Vincent Kucholl, Yann Lambiel, Gérard Mermet, Thierry Meury, Frédéric Recrosio, Julia Roos, Brigitte Rosset, Beat Schlatter, Jean-Charles Simon, Karim Slama, Emil Steinberger, Vincent Veillon, Sandrine Viglino.