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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000
Directed by Alain Tanner
New York Video 1976 DVD/VHS Feature Film
Political films were not as plenteous this year as they have been in the past. Alain Tanner and co-writer John Berger accomplished what few Marxist movie-makers have been able to achieve they made a political movie that is thoroughly believable and entertaining. Jonah Who Will Be 25 In The Year 2000 (Switzerland 1976) is what the director calls "a didactic comedy."
We are introduced to eight idiosyncratic individualists whose lives have all been touched and to varying degrees transformed by the political events of 1968 in Switzerland. Among their number: a schoolteacher who dares to use student centered educational techniques, a typesetter who finds a job working for a produce gardener (and even takes a fling establishing an experimental school in a greenhouse), and a political writer who maintains a low profile as a proofreader. The women also march to the beat of a different drummer: a secretary with an interest in Tantrism, an employer with a passion for ecology and astrology, and a cashier in a supermarket who steals food for a retired railroad engineer.
All of these people are flexible and capable of flying in the direction of surprise and the unknown. The 1968 revolution gave them a sense of possibility. And when their lives intertwine, Jonah (the child of the farm laborer and his wife) becomes the emblem of their hope for the future. They've shifted their beliefs from political revolution to cultural evolution. Maybe in 2000 when he's twenty-five, another breakthrough in consciousness will take place.
Jonah Who Will be 25 In The Year 2000 is one of the best films at this year's Festival with its excellent ensemble acting and literate script. Tanner shows an ability to sensibly depict the awkward but endearing nature of wo/man.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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