Locarno Film Review: ‘Those Who Are Fine’

Cyril Schäublin7;s lean, formally striking film about alienation touches on a confidence scheme modern, unfriendly Zurich. The benignly dull Switzerland of Harry Lime’s famous summation “The Third Man” (“…brotherly love, 500 years of democracy and peace, and what did they produce? The cuckoo clock”) is nowhere to be found Swiss director Cyril Schäublin’s clinically intelligent, laceratingly pessimistic feature debut. Envisioning the outskirts of Zurich as a gray, unpeopled dystopia of alienation and dissociation, “ Those Who are Fine ” may be set the present, but its subtle uncanniness makes it feels like near-future sci-fi. For such a tightly constructed work, the film, which received a Special Mention the First Feature section Locarno, starts deceptively loosely, with the story of a scam. Told as an anecdote by a court reporter chatting about her work day to some friends, the grift is a particularly heartless one: a young woman, cahoots with a geriatric care nurse, has been targeting old women as senility begins to take hold, and conning large sums of cash of them by posing as a granddaughter need. It’s not immediately clear how subsequent scenes relate to this oddly angled, […]

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