Beresina oder Die letzten Tage der Schweiz (1999)

 |  Comedy  |  3 August 2000 (Germany)
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An innocent Russian call girl believes that she would make use of her influential contacts to get Swiss nationality.



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Credited cast:
Elena Panova ...
Charlotte De
Martin Benrath ...
Alt-Divisionär Sturzenegger
Dr. Alfred Waldvogel
Iván Darvas ...
Direktor Vetterli
Marina Confalone ...
Benedetta Hösli
Stefan Kurt ...
Claude Bürki
Hans-Peter Korff ...
Nationalrat Tschanz
Joachim Tomaschewsky ...
Alt Bundesrat von Gunten
Rest of cast listed alphabetically:
Ulrich Beck
Ivan Desny ...
Rudolf Stauffacher
Schuyler Landolt
Hilde Ziegler ...
Frau Vetterli


An innocent Russian call girl believes that she would make use of her influential contacts to get Swiss nationality.

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Release Date:

3 August 2000 (Germany)  »

Also Known As:

Beresina  »

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Aspect Ratio:

1.85 : 1
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User Reviews

A hilarious comedy about the last days of Switzerland - A milestone in Swiss filmmaking
5 September 1999 | by (Zug, Switzerland) – See all my reviews

Deconstructing Switzerland, or at least its myths and legends. "Beresina" is a comedy that gains its attraction from a naive Russian girl Irina, played by Elena Panova, a very talented young actress. Although it is presented in a very fairy-tale-like way, the story takes place in today's Switzerland with all its old-fashioned clichées. But since the movie never tries to take itself too serious, it manages to give a view of the real centers of power in this "oh so beautiful little country" the way they could be. Actually at the date of release, reality has already caught up with fiction, meaning we now have a scandal about a "secret" Secret Service and a whore pretending to know the Swiss government from within. One might almost call "Beresina" the "Wag the Dog" of Swiss politics.

All in all the film's first half presents kind of a "chronicle of slowness" and hence reflects the way structures are broken and opened to new ideas in the heads of many people always being mindful of tradition. But this slow pacing can also be very amusing, as Daniel Schmid shows us. Although he never reaches the tempo of a Billy Wilder comedy, he manages to capture another speciality of the very same director: showing people the way they are, making us care for them, without taking them too serious. A pretty obvious characteristic of this movie are the constant repetitions, which may not always please, but which show effectively how the presented characters live their lives following ritualized patterns.

What makes this movie go is doubtlessly the story of Irina, the Russian callgirl. She is the only one really believing all the myths and promises around her "promised (Switzer)land", and ironically a central factor in their destruction. She provides the only emotional relation to the audience. In her idealisticly pure hope for a paradise she is willing to sacrifice even a virtue or two ("lying is a bad thing!") in order to make her dream come true.

It's also a story about friends, most of them false ones though. From a certain point in time things happen to tumble and the satire turns into a very amusing grotesque.

Watch out for the "réduit"-sequence, a true highlight! I have to admit that I would have never thought that Swiss Folk songs could be delightful sung with a Russian accent. By the way there is a powerful performance by Geraldine Chaplin, who shows us a hundred ways to open a fan

I was very pleased to see the first good Swiss movie in years, even if its attraction may somehow be limited to Switzerland and prevent it from being successful in probable foreign releases.

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