Utopia Blues (2002)

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Switzerland is a really awful place to live, especially if you're a young man with dreams of becoming a rock star. That, in a nutshell, is the theme of Utopia Blues, a smog-filled urban youth drama by Swiss director Stefan Haupt. The main character is Rafael, a rebellious young Zuricher opposed to his city's repressive, provincial nature. As leader of the rock band "Utopia Blues," he tries to break every rule both on stage and off. At school he refuses to read assigned texts and delves into his own philosophical studies. On the streets, he lives dangerously and even attempts to takeover the town hall in order to publicize his music. Rafael's stunts eventually land him in an insane asylum where the forces of conservative Swiss society slowly grind him to pulp. All tolled, Utopia Blues is a critique of modern Swiss culture, which, unfortunately, falls short of an engaging cinematic story. Its shortcomings are a lot of undue headiness and a lack of credibility, for the depiction of angst in such a privileged land demands much of the imagination. Lead actor Michael Finger was chosen as a "Shooting Star" at the Berlin Film Festival for his portrayal of Rafael.