Pioneering Swiss filmmaker Alain Tanner dies at 92

Prolific Swiss filmmaker Alain Tanner, considered a pioneer of Switzerland's new wave film movement, died Sunday at the age of 92, his foundation said.

Pioneering Swiss filmmaker Alain Tanner dies at 92
Alain Tanner during the 34th International Cannes Film Festival in 1981. Photo: AFP

“Alain Tanner was one of the beacons of Swiss cinema,” his foundation said in a statement issued in consultation with his family.

Tanner was an internationally renowned director with more than two dozen films to his name, who began his career in the late 1950s.

A contemporary of the French New Wave, he is credited with helping launch Switzerland’s own, smaller new wave in the 1970s, along with colleagues Miche Soutter, Claude Goretta, Jean-Louis Roy and Jean-Jacques Lagrange.

Their “Group of 5” spurred a renewal in Swiss films reflecting the era’s spirit of nonconformity.

Tanner’s first full-length feature film, “Charles, Dead or Alive”, which appeared in 1969, marked the beginning of politically engaged cinema in Switzerland.

That film, which tells the story of a businessman who decides to abandon mainstream capitalist life to take up a marginal existence on the fringe of society as student protests rage, won the top prize at the Locarono film festival.

Among his best-known films are “Jonas who will be 25 in the Year 2000,” from 1976 and “Light Years Away”, which won the Grand Prix at the 1981 Cannes Film Festival.

On his foundation’s website, he is quoted as saying he felt lucky to have been born when he was.

“Over 50 years, during the second half of the last century, I lived through was probably the most engaging for cinema, with the questioning of the old styles, the break with old structures and the arrival of modernity,” he said.

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10 unmissable events in Switzerland this October

From celebrity spotting at Zurich’s film festival to cheese tasting and embracing Irish culture in Fribourg, here are the top events you shouldn’t miss out on this October in Switzerland.

10 unmissable events in Switzerland this October

Zurich Film Festival

Every autumn, the Zurich Film Festival attracts thousands of movie enthusiasts, film stars and media professionals – and this year, you can be one of them. The event is held from September 28th until October 8th and tickets can be purchased in person at Paradeplatz from 12pm to 7pm (except Sundays). Ticket prices start from 26.20 Swiss francs apiece.

Festa d’Autunno

Whether you are a Ticino resident or have always wanted to learn more about the region, we recommend heading to this year’s Festa d’Autunno (autumn festival) in Ticino’s largest city, Lugano.

The festival, which runs from September 29th until October 1st, invites visitors to discover Ticino’s gastronomy, taste exceptional wines and explore Lugano’s shopping district while being serenaded by folklore music. Additionally, Lugano Region will also offer free guided tours for those interested in discovering the history of its city centre.

Herbstmesse (Lozärner Määs)

While on the topic of autumn fairs, Lucerne’s traditional autumn festival is a must-visit if you’re in the area between September 30th and October 15th. The fair will span from the Bahnhofplatz via Europaplatz to Inseli in Lucerne’s city centre and feature over 100 market stalls selling anything from baked goods to clothing items and hand-crafted gifts.

Balade dans Genève en Tram Historique

Ever wondered what it would be like to explore Geneva from the inside of a tram dating back to the 1920s? Well, now’s your chance. On October 1st, visitors will be able to take part in hourly trips across Geneva on one of the city’s historical trams, which will depart from Lancy Gare and head to Cornavin via Carouge, Plainpalais, Bel Air and Place de Neuve.

Irish Festival, Fribourg

“Ireland is coming to Fribourg,” says the website for the town’s inaugral Irish Festival.

“With sixteen cultural events in seven locations over three days, the inaugural Irish Festival Fribourg/Freiburg has something to offer all ages and interests,” it adds.

The event aims to connect Irish and Swiss culture and offers a range of activities to entertain young and old. From October 6th to 8th, visitors can enjoy whiskey tasting, Irish music, watch a documentary about a Belfast primary school and even join in literary discussions at various locations in Fribourg.

Festival director Clare O’Dea says “The programme offers a weekend of discovery and fun to the people of Fribourg and visitors from near and far.”

Zurich Wine Festival

At the Zurich Wine Festival you can enjoy over 350 wines from around the globe and take part in over 15 master classes on the art of winemaking. The festival will be held at the Papiersaal Sihlcity between October 16th and October 22nd.

Tickets to the wine exhibition cost 25 Swiss francs apiece (and allow you to taste as many wines as you wish), while a master class ticket for your chosen session will set you back 49 Swiss francs.

Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival (LUFF)

The Lausanne Underground Film & Music Festival, which takes place from October 18th to 22nd, promotes innovative films and musical acts that do not benefit from a wide distribution via traditional channels and is one of Lausanne’s most eccentric events.

Käsefest Bern

Cheesemakers from all over the region of Bern will come together for the Käsefest Bern on October 21st to showcase their cheesy treasures at the city’s Waisenhausplatz. In addition to the cheese market, the event will offer musical entertainment, a cheese chalet, food bars and even cow milking.

Basler Herbstmesse

Switzerland’s oldest and largest amusement fair – the Basler Herbstmesse – takes place from October 28th until November 14th. The Basler Herbstmesse is an integral part of the city’s cultural heritage and draws around one million visitors from Switzerland and overseas each year.

Visitors can enjoy a leisurly stroll from Barfüsserplatz to Messeplatz and from Petersplatz to the city’s cathedral while taking in traditional market stalls, exciting rides and many other nostalgic attractions.

Lausanne Marathon

If you’re looking to keep fit while taking in magnificent scenery, then you may want to join 13,600 joggers in the Lausanne Marathon on Sunday, October 29th at 10am. The 30th Lausanne Marathon will see runners jog between Lausanne and La Tour-de-Peilz, passing along the shores of Lake Geneva and through the UNESCO-listed Lavaux vineyards.

The best part? You can choose which type of marathon you’d like to run, be it a full marathon, semi-marathon, 10 kilometres or Nordic walking.