Omegäng ★★★

Solothurner Filmtage 2024 #14

Aldo Gugolz is a real one for cutting from the subtitle of his movie, which contains a Genderstern, straight to avowed Genderstern hater Franz Hohler. To be sure, Hohler gets pretty glowing coverage for non-Genderstern-related issues over the course of the film, but there's a sly pettiness to that cut I can't help but appreciate. It's like the editorial version of saying, "Anyway, here's this guy."

As for the film itself, almost every attempt at linking its exploration of Swiss German dialects in the 21st century to the larger sociocultural context falls thunderously flat – but luckily, there are dozens upon dozens of indelible interview moments to pick up some of the narrative slack. Swiss German is a beautiful language, and listening to crotchety old farmers – one of whom looks exactly like Walter Matthau circa Grumpy Old Men – detailing the minute village-by-village differences in vocabulary and vowel stress will give you extra appreciation for it.

Let the record show that I want to grow up to be exactly like the two Idiotikon editors – perfect ratio of sincerity, self-deprecation, and hyper-specialised scientific rigour.

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