News  ·  13 | 08 | 2022

Alles über Martin Suter. Ausser die Wahrheit.

André Schäfer | Piazza Grande

©DCM Film Distribution

There is a lot of truth in this documentary about Martin Suter, despite the title that ironically creates a different expectation, which is meant to confuse the audience from the very first lines of the documentary. At the beginning of the film, the Swiss author, thanks to the German director André Schäfer, plays to hide behind his literary creations, only to deny any link between his life and the characters. For Suter, authors should not talk about their own ghosts, but create convincing stories. On this he is very clear even though, as we progress, some elements of overlap between author and work still emerges. The game soon stops, and the documentary succeeds, with some grace, in giving us an in-depth insight into Suter the man and at the same time letting us into the successful writer's mind lab. Alles über Martin Suter. Ausser die Wahrheit is a collage of literary quotes, excerpts from the writer's greatest works, staged by the director, broken up by the narration of Suter and other witnesses to his rise and life that addresses themes related to his poetics and his private persona. Suter talks about his main literary motif: the story of a human being, usually male, with an unspeakable secret linked to his own existence. Suter is a writer of plot, of suspense, of twists and reversals. An author who began his career in creative advertising and came to literature only at the age of 50, via screenwriting. In fact, Suter's narratives are exquisitely cinematic. Proof of this is that they have often been adapted for fiction for both the big and small screen. Then there is Suter the man, a caring companion and loving father of his adopted daughter born and raised in Guatemala. The theme of fatherhood emerges towards the end and brings us back to a very sad episode in the writer's life: the death of his adopted son, which happened in Zurich a few years ago. Suter appears a simple and unsophisticated person, without the typical neuroses of the cultured and successful person. He is especially comfortable in front of the camera. He is a delightful presence and the film dedicated to him is a beautiful way to close the Locarno Film Festival on a high note and bid farewell to our beloved Piazza Grande.   

Mattia Lento