News  ·  14 | 08 | 2021

The Nüesch Sisters

In Conversation with Giona A. Nazzaro and Dorothea Strauss

© Locarno Film Festival / Ti-Press / Alessandro Crinari

It's 1969 in the United States. Two young girls, well-dressed with well-groomed hairstyles, surrounded by period furniture, are watching the moon landing on TV. In the house next door, two boys are doing the same thing. We see them, from the perspective of the two teenagers, framed by a large window. Behind them, there is a painting with an enormous geometrical motive. The four kids suddenly feel the desire to make cinema, to playfully reenact the landing itself.

The two protagonists of this scene, taken from the short film Moon Girls, are the directors Kim and Florine Nüesch, two sisters from St. Gallen and guests of the Locarno Talks la Mobiliare who, a few years ago, left Switzerland to try their hand at filmmaking in Hollywood. This scene says a lot about their cinema, which is characterized by a very careful staging, attentive to the visual element, the costumes, the historical reconstruction, but also to the composition of the image. "Our architect father passed his sense for space and love for design on to us." But the Nüesch sisters' cinema is anything but cold formalism: in the 1950s, 1960s, and 1970s settings of their short films, tenderness dominates.

In Forget Me Not, in particular, the two artists started from a painful biographical element – their mother's mental illness – with a gentleness that never looks for an easy tear. The international awards and the success of this film have encouraged the two sisters to work on a feature film: "We are currently working on a romantic drama with some sci-fi elements. We can’t say any more for now". The film will be produced on the Old Continent: "During the months of the pandemic, we felt a little homesick, but also a wish to be part of the European cinema landscape brought us back here."

Mattia Lento