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The Long Wave of Revolution

The Long Wave of Revolution

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April 1974. An unlikely team of radio correspondents, a career-driven journalist and a reporter with extensive international experience behind him, are sent to document Swiss aid projects in Portugal. The pair have different personalities and outlooks, and along with the sound engineer who awaits them in Lisbon, they find themselves crossing a country in which progress seems very far away, unaware that soon they will be swept up by history.

Using actual events, Lionel Baier has chosen to turn his gaze not so much towards a unique page of recently past history, but on a present that is still a struggle to interpret. The ondes (“waves”) of the title are those that allow radio communication but also that connect far-off parts of Europe. They are the same waves that shook up cinema in the 1960s and, in both society and art, their movement makes the exchange of ideas and experiences possible, ending up changing not only the tenor of a country but also people’s lives.

Though a light-hearted comedy, at the centre of this film is a poignant figure. While everyone is looking to the future, some from the comfortable position of television executive, some on the streets of a Lisbon in turmoil, reporter Joseph-Marie Cauvin seeks to cling on to a past that is slipping from his fingers. This is why, every evening, he records his name and a handful of memories. Embodied by an extraordinary Michel Vuillermoz, with his kindly face, the figure of Cauvin speak directly to our forgetful present. He reminds us not only of what happened in April 1974, but most importantly of the value of memory in constructing the individual.

Carlo Chatrian
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