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105 minutes

AKA Welcome to Switzerland
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.


Monsieur Cinema:
"Vincent Perez, irresistible from beginning to end, saves the film offering a few good moments opposite the enamoured Emmanuelle Devos."

Screen Magazine:
""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 accent." 

"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 terrific."  

Le Point:
"As the chief Helvetic scout, Lausannien Perez does extremely well."


director.gif (905 bytes)"You could 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."

vletter.gif (1289 bytes)"Elizabeth 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
Emmanuelle Devos.....Sophie
Denis Podalydes.....Thierry
Walo Luond.....Walter
Peter Wyssbrod.....Kurt
Marianne Basler.....Beatrice
Scali Delpeyrat.....Vincent


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


Production Notes

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.

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The 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.

The photos below show the cast and crew on location.

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Publicity Photos

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