Synopsis by Eleanor Mannikka
Based on La Separation des Races by C.F. Ramuz, this cinematic interpretation of two people bridging their opposite cultures is not able to capture the same depth of vision as its literary source. Two Swiss villages lie on each side of an Alpine mountain range that divides Italian Swiss communities from German Swiss communities on the other side. Their temperaments, language, history, culture, music, and even the dominant religion are different, so that when an Italian peasant kidnaps a German Swiss miss just before the snows fly -- when winter arrives, they will be cut off from the rest of the world -- there are loud voices raised on each side of the mountain. His own neighbors and friends are angry that he has sullied their honor, and the German Swiss community is understandably upset over the woman's abduction. As the abductee and abductor vacillate in their barely etched relationship, a lone and somewhat mystical peddler with the ability to cross the mountains in winter becomes the single link the opposite communities have with each other. If director Pierre Koralnik had placed more emphasis on the development of the relationship between the Italian peasant and the German Swiss woman, then the lack of a broader symbolism would have been irrelevant -- or vice-versa. But, in fact, neither are emphasized, neither developed, leaving only the plot to carry the story, and it is not strong enough to do that on its own.
cross-cultural-relations, kidnapping, peasant