Beresina or the Last Days of Switzerland | Chicago Reader

Beresina or the Last Days of Switzerland

Director Daniel Schmid denies any intention “to trace some sort of national character” with this vicious, hilarious 1999 film, but it neatly satirizes Switzerland's long traditions of secrecy, isolationism, and self-defense. A Russian call girl, hoping to bring her many relatives to join her in Switzerland, sleeps—and whips—her way into the power structure; betrayed and threatened with deportation, she touches off a decades-old plan for a coup that's to be executed if the country is threatened by infiltration. This wild romp implies that lust, masochism, and self-serving schemes lie behind the nation's facade of respectability, but unfortunately it isn't well served by Schmid's pedestrian style. 108 min.

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