CHRIS THE SWISS
— OST by Marcel Vaid
Just Like You
ABOUT CHRIS THE SWISS
In Chris the Swiss, director Anja Kofmel investigates the murder of her cousin and journalist Chris Würtenberg. He was found dead in January 1992, in the midst of the Yugoslav Wars, in mysterious circumstances, wearing the uniform of an international mercenary group. Twenty years later director Anja Kofmel goes hunting for clues. Beginning with the day of Chris' death and his diary as a guide, she starts to retrace his last steps. Her courageous investigation leads to Chris’ family members and contemporary witnesses such as his journalist comrades, mercenaries of the PIV and even to ex-terrorist ‘Carlos the Jackal’, all personalities who were deeply involved in this war.
The director’s personal view on the story is told in animated sequences, thereby developing a poetic dimension. There are real scenes as well as extensive archive material, documenting the journalistic side of the story and acting as an extended counterbalance to the child’s memory. Without losing its subjectivity, the narrative perspective changes gradually and develops from a child’s point of view to the more sophisticated and critical examination of the adult author.
ABOUT THE SOUNDTRACK
The soundtrack of the film plays a distinct part, unifying the animated sequences with the journalistic side of the story, including archive material. To that end composer Marcel Vaid worked closely together with both filmmaker Anja Kofmel and sound designer Markus Krohn.
‘In order to find the right sound for this powerful documentary, Anja and I watched a lot of different movies and listened to tons of music such as György Ligeti, John Cage, Steve Reich, Max Richter, Tortoise, Good Speed You My Black Emperor or Merzbow. For this dark story set in war, we were looking into the scene of drone and noize music, which I have followed for over 20 years, above all with my band Superterz. Films such as Solaris, The Ghostwriter, Arrival or The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo therefore were important sources of inspiration. As there was absolutely no sound available during the score production process, we had to use our imagination while working on the music. I had to invent a musical room for Chris' animations, trying to catch how the abstract world of Chris would sound, what Anja's nightmares would sound like or how 'war' should be sonically represented.’
‘During the score production process, there was an intense and constant exchange of ideas with sound designer Markus Krohnand the foley artist. Together we decided that the sound design should focus on the higher registers of the soundtrack, for instance representing the insect fluttering of their wings, whereas the music should go into the deeper, more emotional, sublime register. For me, one of the most important challenges was to connect the different parts of film material to each other. From the talking heads, to the personal journey of director Anja, to her subjective point of view in the animation, to archive material from the war: it all had to be edited into one flow.’