SWITZERLAND / 1979 / Swiss-German, German / B&W / 35mm / 99 min

Director, Script: Fredi M. Murer
Photography: Hans Liechti
Editing: Rainer Trinkler
Sound: Florian Eidenbenz
Music: Mario Beretta, Beo Œrtli
Art Director: Bernhard Sauter
Cast: Giovanni Früh, Olga Piazza
Production Companies: Lang Film, Nemo Film
Source: Swiss Films

This is Murer’s first feature-length narrative film. The 37-year-old Alfred M. works as a corporate secret agent, and his 33-year-old wife Julia works at an advertising agency. The film depicts the mysterious events that take place for the couple one weekend (from 5:00 p.m. on Friday to 12:30 p.m. on Monday). Mass media reports appear everywhere on radio and TV about a mysterious new epidemic, inspiring widespread anxiety. The “grey zone” (Grauzone is the original German title) refers to a state of helplessness, and might also point to the air space above Switzerland. The interests of the protagonists obviously lie in recording sounds with a tape recorder or looking into nearby apartments with a telescope. In this emphasizing of the characters’ attempts to know through vision and hearing, one can also identify themes that are common to many of Murer’s films.

Alpine Fire


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Storyboards for Alpine Fire

The Green Mountain

Der grüne Berg

- SWITZERLAND / 1990 / Swiss-German / Color / 16mm / 128 min

Director, Script: Fredi M. Murer
Photography: Pio Corradi
Editing: Kathrin Plüss
Sound: Florian Eidenbenz
Production Company: Bernhard Lang AG
Source: Swiss Films

This documentary film is part of the “mountain trilogy” alongside We Mountain People in the Mountains and Alpine Fire. In 1988, NAGRA (National Cooperative for the Disposal of Radioactive Waste) announced that it would construct a permanent waste disposal site in Wellenberg, Nidwalden, which spurned the creation of a protest group by local residents. Not only does Murer interview both those who support and those who oppose the construction, especially among the Alpine farmers who live in Wellenberg, he begins his approach to the issue by proposing the problem of the scale involved, which is greater than the time scale needed to measure human life. The research and debates all center around the people who will be directly impacted, namely the families who have lived in Wellenberg for many generations. They want to protect their roots since they are confronting a reality in which the earth on which they live might be stolen away from them at any moment. Murer dedicated this film to “the children, and the children of these children,” posing a cutting question to adults who must take responsibility for the next generation. In this sense, The Green Mountain can be thought of as a preview of Full Moon, which was produced eight years afterwards.

Fredi M. Murer Filmography

* The titles of works screened in this program are represented in bold.

1962   Marcel
1965   Pacific–or the Contented | Pazifik–oder die Zufriedenen
1965   Balance
1965   Sylvan
1966   Chicory | Chicorée
1966   Bernhard Luginbühl
1967   High | High and Heimkiller
1969   Sad-is-Fiction
1969   Vision of a Blind Man
1969   Swiss Made 2069 | 2069—oder dort, wo sich Futurologen und Archäologen gute Nacht sagen
1972   Passages | Passagen
1973   Christopher & Alexander
1974   We Mountain People in the Mountains | Wir Bergler in den Bergen sind eigentlich nicht schuld, dass wir da sind
1979   Zones | Grauzone
1985   Alpine Fire | Höhenfeuer
1987   Sehen mit anderen Augen | Seeing Through Other Eyes
1990   The Green Mountain | Der grüne Berg
1998   Full Moon | Vollmond
2004   Downtown Switzerland
2006   Vitus
2014   Liebe und Zufall | Love and Chance