An excellent example of films that highlight forgotten segments of history, this dramedy dusts off Switzerland’s widespread surveillance campaign near the end of the Cold War, when the paranoid government spied on a huge population of its supposedly free citizens. The story follows a cop gone underground into a supposedly left-wing theater troupe, where he finds love and truth as the Berlin Wall comes down.
Filmmaker Micha Lewinsky recently answered some questions via email.
How did you develop this story? Was it based on a real investigation?
During the Cold War, Swiss secret police spied on almost 900,000 citizens and foreigners living in Switzerland. It was a huge scandal that was investigated in the early ‘90s. Our story is fictional, but based on these true events.
How is this period of time treated in modern Switzerland? Is the population still divided on the topic?
Back then it was a big scandal. But it was forgotten fast. You could say that the population is divided in older people, who remember very well what happened, and young folks, who never heard about it.
How has the film been received in Switzerland? How do you think Americans will like it?
I heard a lot of laughter in the screenings. And long discussions after. I’m very curious to hear how this strange little story feels like for an American audience.