La Guerre Dans le Haut Pays (1999)

Genres - Drama, Historical Film  |   Sub-Genres - Period Film  |   Run Time - 105 min.  |   Countries - Belgium, France, Switzerland  |  
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La Guerre Dans le Haut Pays is a period piece set in the winter of 1797-98, during the six days leading up to the fall of Bern and the victory of Napoleon's army, when the Bern government is faced with mixed loyalties from its subjects. The population of the lower valley is divided, but the upper region remains loyal, since they have been given special autonomy and a favorable system of taxation. David, a postman, works between the two regions. His father, who is a hard-line conservative, does not approve of his relationship with Julie, who is from the lower part of the valley. Julie's father, on the other hand, is more open to the new ideas of liberation. As a result of his work, David is exposed to new ideas and becomes a believer in equality and justice. When he meets Ansermoz, who is forced by his poverty to work as a mercenary for the French government, David distances himself more and more from his father. The last straw is when his father wants him to fight with those who support Bern. David refuses and plans to run away with Julie, while his father is determined to carry the combat. Tragedy strikes when the father and the son face each other on opposite sides of the battlefield. For lovers of historical drama, the film offers plenty of escapist action and excitement, with interspersed ideological clashes and fanaticism. All these are enhanced by celebrated French screenwriter Jean-Claude Carriere's contribution to the script. The romantic love story spices up the generally male-dominated nature of the story. For audiences who prefer films dealing with not-so-grandiose subjects, La Guerre Dans le Haut Pays, which competed at the 49th International Berlin Film Festival in 1999, has very little to offer.