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Alexandre Haldemann
Suisse, 2018
Production : La HEAD

Français, Anglais


Gnel, an elderly man, wanders and meditates in his isolated village in the mountains of Nagorno-Karabakh, the Caucasian state self-proclaimed as autonomous 30 years ago. He remembers his family and ponders philosophical questions about time, destruction and life.

Tënk's film review

In keeping with the opening sequence, the director weaves Gnel’s narrative to shed light on the landscape, the destinies and the ruin that reign in this endlessly-warring country.
First, by word of mouth comes the warning: a small fire risks becoming an uncontrollable blaze; rain could turn into flooding; danger is never far off, and peace can never be taken for granted; after this comes the quest for meaning and tranquillity.
As for the images, the opening darkness moves in still, static shots of ruins and tombs in a fragile, hazy texture. Little by little, fuelled by the powerful energy of the mountains, the frame gains height and fluidity until it reaches the altitude of flight. A quote from Jonathan Livingstone Seagull lands like a message of resilience: the legacy is one of conflict, humiliations and bereavements, but also of a voracious thirst for light and freedom.

Jimmy Deniziot & Roxanne Riou
Pre-selectors for the États Généraux du Film Documentaire – Lussas

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Alexandre Haldemann

Alexandre Haldemann is a young Swiss filmmaker born in Geneva in 1995. In 2016, he took part in the Rio Olympic Games as part of the Swiss swimming team before turning to a career in the arts. In 2017, he began a BA course in Film Studies at the Geneva University of Art and Design (HEAD), attending workshops with filmmakers such as Pierre-Yves Vandeweerd and Basil Da Cunha. Discovering the films of Philippe Grandrieux and Scott Barley was a revelation for him and led to his developing his own experimental practices and unique narration. His exploration of cinema through his directing studies and discoveries aims to be sensory, volatile and cosmic. Since 2019, he has also been composing musical worlds based on ambiance, noise and field recordings.

Other films in the collection: Graduation films from the HEAD