On the Road to Multiculturalism

  • Gisela Hoecherl-Alden


ON THE ROAD TO MULTICULTURALISM: CHALLENGING CONCEPTS OF NEUTRALITY AND TOLERANCE IN SWISS-GERMAN CIEMA Switzerland, which prides itself on its political neutrality, democratic ethos and multilingualism, has long been celebrated as a unique model for the peaceful co-existence of diverse cultural groups residing within autonomous cantons (see Altermatt et. al. 1998). Yet by exploring the national culture, transgressing boundaries, and mapping life-transforming experiences, three Swiss-German films challenge this commonly accepted image of their nation. Although not road movies in the sense that the primary movement is shot from a vehicle's point of view (see Laderman 2002: 13), the films Die Schweizermacher (The Swissmakers, Switzerland, 1978) by Rolf Lyssy, Reise der Hoffnung (Journey of Hope, Switzerland-Turkey, 1990) by Xavier Koller, and Pastry, Pain and Politics (Switzerland, 1998) by Stina Werenfels nevertheless integrate road imagery and mobility into their political and visual narratives. The journeys undertaken are "a means of cultural...