L’Exécution du traître à la patrie Ernst S.

Richard Dindo
Switzerland, 99 min

The soldier Ernst S. was one of seventeen “traitors” shot in Switzerland during World War II, accused of collaborating, stealing guns to sell to Germany. Very controversial when released, this film, made after a book by journalist Niklaus Meienberg, weaves a detailed biography of its subject, which it uses to question the hypocrisy of a country.

The soldier Ernst S. was the first of seventeen “traitors” to be shot in Switzerland in the second world war; he was accused of collaborating, stealing guns and then selling them to Germany. Very controversial when released (partly because it was financially supported by the Swiss Confederation), this film, made after a book by journalist Niklaus Meienberg, with the help of testimonies weaves a detailed biography of its central subject. The man’s life story, punctuated by disappointments, is thus intertwined with a rewriting of history, which at the same time allows us to question the hypocrisy of a society that believes it can escape its guilty conscience thanks to scapegoats and the shadow of class justice. Dindo and his accomplice – who would not win any awards for the quality of the film despite its acknowledged aesthetic attributes – denounce a collaboration on a much wider and more dramatic scale than that of Ernst S. Two implicit portraits, without compromise: one of an absent man, and one of a country.

Duration
99 min
Year
1976
Country
Switzerland
Section
Maître du Réel
Language
French
Production
Richard Dindo

Maître du Réel

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