|Photography:||Camille Cottagnoud, Thomas Wüthrich|
|Sdition:||Fernand Melgar, Béatrice Liardet|
|Sound:||Gilles Abravanel, Bastien Moeckli|
|Music:||Pascal Comelade, Diatonikachromatik, Ka bûkamin Semdîn|
|Production:||Climage - Lausanne|
|Associate Producers:||Télévision Suisse Romande TSR, ARTE|
|International Sales: |
Climage - Lausanne
Rue du Maupas 8
CH-1004 Lausanne Suisse
tél ++41 21 648 35 61
fax ++41 21 646 27 87
55' / 1998 / Switzerland
June 1997: 14 students, aged from 11 to 17, share the benches in Anne Juri’s induction class in Marcolet High School in Crissier. A mix of Catholic and Muslim kids, the class is a melting pot of Kurds, Bosnians, Portuguese and Brazilians. Some children have come to join their parents, who work as seasonal workers and whose work visas had not enabled them to bring their children before now. The others fled the war in Bosnia and are temporarily living in detention centres for asylum seekers. After a year of living in such close quarters, some of them were housed in apartments in areas with subsidised rent, where they and their unworking parents were faced with hostile neighbours, who were both Swiss and long-standing immigrants themselves. These children are getting a taste for the new life available to them in Switzerland, which they idealise and discover during a school class in the Alps. The special moments they share with their teacher make them forget the uncertainty of tomorrow: imminent repatriation for the Bosnian refugees and a limited professional future for the others.
Interweaving images of an idyllic Swiss woman with a much less utopian reality, this film depicts the world of these young adolescents, who are torn between memories of their homelands and the desire to build lives for themselves in Switzerland.
How do you learn to read and write in another language when you never even learned in your own language? How do you appreciate the joy of learning when you constantly see your father being killed before your eyes? And why bother at all if you’re going to be repatriated in six months anyway? Through six portraits, "Induction Class" shows the harsh reality facing these children and their redefined families.
In their quest for new identities, these children do not understand that they are in a country that seems to have lost its own sense of identity and has forgotten that pluralism and diversity are at the very heart of its constitution.
Canton of Vaud Foundation for Artistic Promotion and Creation – Young Creators’ Prize
North-South Media Encounters (NSME), Geneva – Youth Prize
Fernand Melgar was born into a family of Spanish unionists exiled to Tangiers (Morocco). His parents smuggled him in with them when, in 1963, they emigrated to Switzerland as seasonal Labourers. In the early eighties, he cut short his business studies in order to found, together with several friends, the Cabaret Orwell in Lausanne, soon a mecca for French-speaking Switzerland’s underground culture; later, he created the internationally renowned rock music venue La Dolce Vita, also in Lausanne. After endowing the latter night spot with a programme of creative video projections, he became a self-taught, freelance film director and producer. In 1983, he began putting together various experimental films and iconoclastic reportages for television. In 1985 he joined Climage*, a collective to which he belongs to this day, and with whom he produced around a dozen documentaries, now considered as benchmarks on the topics of immigration and identity. His documentary Exit –The Right to Die has garnered several international awards, including the prestigious 2006 EBU Golden Link Award for the Best European Co-Production, and the 2006 Swiss Film Prize. Winner of the screenplay competition launched by Télévision Suisse Romande (French-speaking Switzerland’s broadcasting centre) in 2007, Melgar is currently working on his first fiction feature film, Far Behind the Mountain. He lives and works in Lausanne.
*Created in 1985, Climage groups together several individualists who have similar ideas on independent and engaged filmmaking. Today, Climage has become one of Frenchspeaking Switzerland’s most prolific producers of documentaries.
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