Robinson Crusoe is a small island hundreds of kilometers away from the Chilean coast where in 1704 the Scottish sailor Alexandre Selkirk lived the incredible experience that inspired Daniel Defoe’s novel of the same name.
In 1877 the island becomes the property of a young Swiss aristocrat, Alfred von Rodt, a confirmed optimist, a tireless explorer and an indisputable rebel who instigated multiple projects in hopes of developing the resources of his piece of rock.
Islander immerses us in the modern day reality of Robinson Crusoe. Its inhabitants are not Chilean, nor Swiss, but they are strongly attached to their identity and reject everything coming from the “outside” – animals, plants and people.
This film reveals a dream-like utopia that relies on the “purity” of its inhabitants and environment, and offer a potent metaphor for contemporary nationalism and the politics of fear.
SCREENINGS & AWARDS
2018 World Premiere: Locarno Film Festival
2019 Solothurn Film Festival
2019 World Film Festival Tartu
2019 Cinélatino – Rencontres de Toulouse
2019 Bergamo Film Meeting
2019 Pêcheurs du Monde Film Festival
2019 Subversive Festival Zagreb
2019 Entonnats Voyageurs
2019 Valetta Film Festival
More: Maine IFF, Dunedin FF, Sebastopol DFF, Encuentros del Otro Cine, Centre culturel suisse de Paris, Doc Buenos Aires, Unseen Cavtat, Mountainfilm Festival Graz, FILMAR en America Latina Genève, Journées de la francophonie, Alliance Française de Buenos Aires, Ulju Mountain Film Festival, Francofonía (Swiss Embassy in Argentina)
- Special Jury Mention Bergamo Film Meeting 2019
DIRECTORS’S BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY
Born in 1965 in Lausanne, Switzerland. Has worked as an editor and independent director since 1985. Lived and worked in New York between 1987 and 1993. Directed several artistic and experimental videos before moving on to full-fledged documentaries.
Numerous selections in festivals such as IDFA, Locarno, DOK Leipzig, DocBuenosAires, IndieLisboa, Visions du Réel Nyon, etc. Numerous awards in festival such as Bruxelles, Verona, Bordeaux, Besançon, nomination for Swiss Awards…
As a Director:
2018 INSULAIRE – doc cinéma
2015 FRAGMENTS DU PARADIS
2012 DE LA CUISINE AU PARLEMENT
2008 LE CRÉPUSCULE DES CELTES
2007 LE SECRET
2006 QUE VIVA MAURICIO DEMIERRE
2005 SUR LES TRACES DES PHARAONS NOIRS
2005 ATELIERS DU NORD
2003 LE POISON-LE CRIME DE MARACON
2001 ARCHITECTOUR DE LA SUISSE
1997 CAMPAGNE PERDUE
1996 L’OR DE LA RESERVE
1995 LE GARÇON S’APPELAIT APACHE
1993 A L’OUEST DU PECOS
1990 LA RÉPUBLIQUE DE L’UTOPIE
As a producer :
2018 LES DAMES de Stéphanie Chuat et Véronique Reymond
2015 ATTERRISSAGE FORCÉ de Daniel Wyss
2014 LA BARQUE N’EST PAS PLEINE de Daniel Wyss
2011 VOL SPÉCIAL de Fernand Melgar
2008 LA FORTERESSE de Fernand Melgar
2007 MONDES CONTRAIRES de Camille Cottagnoud
2007 LE TRAIN LE PLUS DIFFICILE DU MONDE de Daniel Wyss
PRODUCER’S BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY
Climage is an association whose goal is to create and broadcast documentary films that deal with social, cultural and historical topics.
Director and Producer Stéphane GOËL
Script Antoine JACCOUD
Narration Mathieu AMALRIC
Director’s assistant Céline PERNET
DOP Joakim CHARDONNENS
Sound Carlos IBAÑEZ DIAZ
Editor Nicolas HISLAIRE
Original music Sara OSWALD
Scaling Robin ERARD
Sound mix Jérôme CUENDET
Stills Anne GOLAZ
Production CLIMAGE Audiovisuel
Coproduction RTS – SSR, Irène CHALLAND, Gaspard LAMUNIÊRE, Steven ARTELS
Funding Office fédéral de la culture (DFI)
Fondation culturelle Suissimage, Cinéforom, Loterie Romande, Fondation Ernst Göhner, Burgergemeinde Bern, Pour-cent culturel, Migros, Fonds culturel de la SSA, Fondation SUISA
Mixing the past and the present of a singular territory, ISLANDER aims to tell the destiny of Alfred Von Rodt, Bernese adventurer turned governor of a small island of the Pacific, while going to meet a community full of fears, aspirations and contradictions. A former mercenary, lame but optimistic, enterprising but benevolent colonist, young aristocrat in contradiction with his environment, Utopian at a point to be disturbed by his family, Von Rodt is an intriguing character whose complexity can be revealed only in fragments. While excavating in the archives of the Library of the Bourgeoisie of Berne, we were able to exhume some letters resulting from a correspondence which he maintained with certain members of his family. These pieces of life have nourished, under the pen of Antoine Jaccoud, the writing of a first-person story revealing the intimate face of his Robinson-style adventure. Interrupted by the memories told by his Chilean descendants, this voiceover gives life to the Bernese baron for the time of the film.
Starting from the path of his patriarch, the film also portrays a community that identifies itself only partially as Chilean, now wants to find concrete conditions – political, economic, environmental – to its existence. By following bribes of everyday life it shows how the descendants of a Swiss aristocrat and his followers build and assert their identity in an extremely sensitive relationship with a territory that is sublime, remote and threatening.
Beyond the charm that emerges from the magnificent beauty of the landscapes and the strong presence of the islanders, remain some questions and worries. What is identity?
Isn’t it inevitably based on exclusion? Isn’t any species not belonging to the original Eden “invasive”? Is the lack of resources an objective fact? Should walls be created to keep these resources to oneself? In a world where borders are always rising, the way in which Robinson Crusoe’s residents express their identity and rights raises very contemporary moral issues. These distant cousins give us a mirror and perhaps remind us, more than others, that the island and its insularity are also cultural constructions.
Shot on the coast of Chile, this film may take us back to another island.