AKA Welcome to Switzerland
Synopsis: Veteran character actor Denis Podalydes plays Thierry, a Swiss national
who has lived in France for years, at least in part because of his dislike of most things
Swiss. When he returns for his grandmother's funeral with his French girlfriend Sophie
(Devos), he comes up against those Helvetic values that make him nuts: such things as
Swiss adversity to litter, their rigid politeness and confidence that there is only one
proper way to slice butter.
Unexpectedly, Thierry learns that a large inheritance is his if he is able to convince his
dubious uncle he will put it to good use. So he must learn how to be Swiss once more,
which means acquiring the proper techniques to milk cows, grate cheese and handle
firearms. He initially fails. A cousin, Alois (Perez), urges him to try harder, even as
the athletic Alois makes moves on Sophie.
"Vincent Perez, irresistible from beginning to end, saves the film
offering a few good moments opposite the enamoured Emmanuelle Devos."
""The scene-stealer is Vincent Perez, playing knowingly on his
matinee-idol image, the filmatic twist being that his character is an out-and-out creep
from the start."
"Here is a film which should guarantee a good amount of laughter... Vincent
Perez, as in Je Reste! once again proves his gift to play the
side-splitting fop as a worthy heir to Thierry Lhermitte."
"First-time filmmaker Lea Fazer can give this comedy the necessary tempo and
rate/rhythm for its gags like a clock mechanism. The characters are colorful, triumph
going to Vincent Perez, the Swiss seducer with the Vaud
"The scenes of pure comedy, where the irresistable Vincent Perez initiates
Podalydes to his Helvetic origins are particularly successful."
"Podalydes is perfect as the spiritual loser, Perez (who grew up
close to Lausanne) is delectable as the kind boy-scout ecologist."
"Vincent Perez surprend en pur Suisse des montagnes aux expressions
farfelues. (Anyone want to translate?) With this first astonishing work, Lea Frazer
testifies she knows how to handle comic subleties. Thanks to staging scenes with infernal
timing, the younger screenwriter transforms her film into a model of clock-making."
"The confirmed talented and irresistable Vincent Perez is able to
imitate like Michel Leeb or Guy Montagne, adapting the regional accent which is very
funny. He should be seen - trailing the vowels, rebounding on the consonants: he is
"As the chief Helvetic scout, Lausannien Perez does extremely
say that there is more than one Switzerland: the romantic and idyllic Alpine nature; the
traditional cheese fondue; the banks and their scandals and secrets; and the Switzerland
of artists whose avant-gardism and impertinence is often surprising, etc. For me, each of
these facets suggested a crossroads of different narrative lines that are sometimes close
to genres, romantic comedy, satire or political family investigation. In the end the
diversity of these stories echoes those of Switzerland."
"For the character of Alo´s, I needed an actor who could be
credible as an Helvetic Apollo. Vincent Perez grew in the area of Lausanne and knows the
culture of it on the end of the fingers. Moreover, he is a very gifted actor. It was
moving, even fascinating, to see how he knew how to give his character this Swiss
resonance... It was necessary that Vincent accelerated the flow of the Vaud accent. It is
a virtuoso exercise because it is a question of accelerating an accent whose
characteristic is to be slow! Vincent did a remarkable job."
Tanner, Lea Fazer's agent, told me they were thinking of me for this film. I received the
script. The title intrigued me, and I laughed much while reading it... Its charm
immediately allured me."
Vincent Perez .....Alois
Directed by.....Lea Fazer
Screenplay by......Lea Fazer
Cinematography by.....Myriam Vinocour
Premiered at the 57th Cannes Film Festival on May 13, 2004
competing in the "Un Certain Regard" category.
Opened on June 30,
2004 in France & Belgium
Swiss newspapers report that the stars of the film
arrived by July 27, 2003 and were spending August at the Hotel Chateau Gutsch in Lucerne. The hotel
recently went bankrupt and closed, so while the owners are looking for a new buyer, it's
become the perfect accommodations for the cast.
film's director, Lea Fazer, has previously written for stage, television and film. She has
also staged plays, but this will be the first film she's directed. The
lovely chateau they're staying at is described as a fairy-tale castle with spectacular
panoramic views over Lucerne and the lake.
photos below show the cast and crew on location.