Switzerland | 2022 | 82 min. | Leon Schwitter

A boy joins his estranged father on a trip into the mountains, only to find that the patriarch has grander plans for the two of them in this picturesque slow burn of mounting dread.

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Young Benny (Dorian Heiniger) heads into the forest with his father, Michael (Peter Hottinger), where he learns the skills and rhythm of life in the forest. But then, suddenly, a revelation: not only does Michael have no intention of returning to the outside world, but he won't be returning his son to his mother either. Michael believes that society will eventually collapse and that he has everything he needs to be self-sufficient. Away from modern life, the mentoring warmth of fatherly companionship devolves and changes as Benny struggles to assert himself. Swiss writer-director Leon Schwitter, in his debut feature, uses expressive cinematography and quiet soundscapes to immerse the audience in the beauty of the Swiss Alps. This minimalism sets the stage for riveting and subtle performances by the two actors, whose sparse dialogue expresses the complex dynamics of love and control. Retreat is an understated but nonetheless gripping exploration of fatherhood, loneliness, and alienation.

Jonathan Kreisky

  • Original Language Title: Réduit
  • Director: Leon Schwitter
  • Principal Cast: Peter Hottinger, Dorian Heiniger
  • Country: Switzerland
  • Year: 2022
  • Running Time: 82 min.
  • Producer: Leon Schwitter
  • Screenplay: Leon Schwitter
  • Cinematographers: Robin Angst
  • Editors: Michael Karrer
  • Music: Hora Lunga
  • Website: Official Film Website
  • Awards: Thessaloniki International Film Festival 2022 (Golden Alexander Prize: Film Forward)
  • Filmography: Debut Feature Film
  • Language: Swiss German
  • Has Subtitles: Yes
  • International Sales: alief SAS