(Swiss German) Release date1999 (1999) Initial releaseAugust 20, 1999 (Switzerland) CastElena Panova (Irina), Geraldine Chaplin (Charlotte De), Martin Benrath (Alt-Divisionär Sturzenegger), Ulrich Noethen (Dr. Alfred Waldvogel), Hans-Peter Korff (Nationalrat Tschanz) Similar moviesRelated Daniel Schmid movies
Beresina, or the Last Days of Switzerland (German: Beresina oder Die letzten Tage der Schweiz) is a 1999 satiric comedy film by Swiss director Daniel Schmid. It chronicles the story of Irina, a Russian call girl arriving in Switzerland, whose innocent attempt to live the high life there triggers an unintended coup d'état in the country. The title Beresina refers to the Beresinalied, a patriotic song used as the code for initiating the putsch.
The film is a black comedy where all aspects of Swiss life are satirized in anecdotes. The heroine deals with a retired P-26 officer who appears as her false "sponsor" and various sexual perverts at the top of Swiss social hierarchy. Their attitudes to immigrants are also depicted ironically. Even the national identity and modern history of Switzerland are caricaturized in the country's first ever coup d'état sequences. The film culminates with Irina's coronation as Queen of Switzerland.
Beresina was screened in the Un Certain Regard section at the 1999 Cannes Film Festival.
Yelena Panova - Irina
Geraldine Chaplin - Charlotte De
Martin Benrath - Alt-Divisionär Sturzenegger
Ulrich Noethen - Dr. Alfred Waldvogel
Iván Darvas - Direktor Vetterli
Marina Confalone - Benedetta Hösli
Stefan Kurt - Claude Bürki
Hans-Peter Korff - Nationalrat Tschanz
Joachim Tomaschewsky - Alt Bundesrat von Gunten
Ivan Desny - Rudolf Stauffacher
Hilde Ziegler - Frau Vetterli
The film was praised by Variety, where Schmid "applies his wicked sense of humour", to create a "rollicking socio-political farce that roasts just about everyone in power." The review also explained how Schmid uses "black humour to expose Swiss high society as a hypocritical facade hiding secrets from money-laundering to pimping, with the banks involved in absolutely everything."