Berlinale: Programme


Film file

Generation

Die Kinder vom Napf

The Children from the Napf

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Director Alice Schmid is renowned for her films about children: her documentary, I KILLED PEOPLE, about child soldiers in Liberia, was screened internationally to great acclaim. Now she has turned her attention to the extraordinary lives of children living in mountain farming communities in her native Switzerland. For this work, the director spent 365 days filming. The darkness is penetrated by torchlight and the sound of boots crunching in the snow; it is pitch black when the children, panting, make their way to school. Oberänzi and Oberlänggrat are the names of the two mountains that tower above the tiny village of Romoos, and Breitäbnet is the name of the green valley below. Life here, where children travel to school by cable car, seems frozen in time. On these mountain farms it’s all shoulders to the wheel – which means that the children are needed to drive the cattle, mend fences and help with the harvest. The animals need protection from a wolf – he’s already killed 27 sheep. And a hawk has been at the chickens. In spite of all the work, there’s still time to play in this stunning landscape as blissful children romp in summer meadows against a backdrop of country dancing and brass bands. And yet, more and more families are moving away. Finally, Christmas is upon us. Gently, the snow falls on this winter wonderland. ’A lovely dream’ sings a lone voice softly at the end – in Swiss-German, of course.

Switzerland 2011, 91 min

by

Alice Schmid