Cinema Lumiere - Sala Scorsese > 21:30


Valérien Schmidely, Hans Trommer

(In case of rain the projection will be canceled)


Saturday 24/06/2023


Original version with subtitles


Film Notes

“The most beautiful and the truest   of all Swiss films, whose significance was overlooked, and which stands as a beacon today and for the future.” Freddy Buache, former director of Cinémathèque suisse, has never hidden his enthusiasm for this legendary work that today takes pride of place in the firmament of the best Swiss films, according to the classification produced by the great Swiss German-language newspaper, “Tages Anzeiger”.
However, when it was released in 1941, despite a favourable press response, Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe did not achieve its anticipated success. After only 23 days, the film was dropped from listings. It even caused something of a stir; Switzerland refused to select the film for the 1942 Venice Biennale, describing it as “plodding and mediocre”. This failure seemed to have delivered a disastrous and paradoxical blow to the careers of its two Swiss co-authors: Hans Trommer, a graphic artist and former assistant to directors such as Joe May in Germany, and USSR-born and educated Valérien Schmidely, assistant camera operator to Dovzhenko, Kosintsev and Trauberg.
Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe is the second short story in the collection entitled Die Leute von Seldwyla, published in 1856 by Gottfried Keller (1819-1890). The author – who also wrote Der Grüne Heinrich (Green Henry) – tells a rural story giving it a manifestly Shakespearean slant. Whilst his masterpiece was misunderstood, its film adaptation by Trommer and Schmidely has a luminous beauty that brings to mind the works of the great Nordic filmmakers of the silent era. Romeo und Julia auf dem Dorfe combines a deep, almost documentary-like concern for authenticity with a quest for pure beauty; a certain dream-like quality even. Edited and reedited, cut by 20 minutes, the film in its original version was lost. Cinémathèque suisse worked on it over five years to restore it as closely as possible to its original 1941 version.

Frédéric Maire

Cast and Credits

Sog.: dal racconto omonimo (1856) di Gottfried Keller. Scen.: Hans Trommer. F.: Ady Lumpert. M.: Irene Widmer, Käthe Mey. Scgf.: Fritz Butz. Mus.: Jack Trommer. Int.: Margrit Winter (Vreneli Marti), Erwin Kohlund (Sali Manz), Johannes Steiner (Albert Manz), Emil Gyr (il vecchio Marti), Emil Gerber (il violinista Geiger), Walburga Gmür (signora Manz), Anni Dürig (signora Marti), Ella Kottusch (Elise), Dorli Zäch (Vreneli da bambino), Richard Schuhmacher (Sali da bambino). Prod.: Conrad Arthur Schlaepfer per Pro-Film. DCP. Bn.