Köhlernächte

Robert Müller
Switzerland 2017 | 93 min | engl. subtitled
Fri, 31-May-19 10:00 PM
Q&A with: Robert Müller

In Switzer­land, tra­di­tion­al char­coal burn­ing is still a trade. Each summer, smoke rises out of the char­coal piles, or kilns. The pro­ce­dure takes five weeks. The metic­u­lous stack­ing of the wood, work­ing with the fire, the poking and shov­el­ing, the hidden process in which the trans­for­ma­tion of wood into char­coal seems alchemistic – all of this still has an air of magic to this day.

The film­mak­er Robert Müller vis­it­ed the char­coal burn­ers in Entle­buch in Cen­tral Switzer­land for the last five years. He offers a glimpse of a hard but fas­ci­nat­ing world in this cap­ti­vat­ing film with fan­tas­tic images and pre­cise acoustics that match the accu­ra­cy of the work­ing method of making char­coal. Most impor­tant­ly, it is a well-round­ed por­trait of the dif­fer­ent people involved in this trade. There is much silence, but also laugh­ter, drink­ing, smok­ing, and curs­ing.

Robert Müller: “I learned about a way of living where family, pro­fes­sion, beliefs and, the world stay close­ly con­nect­ed: the intense labor in nature and the adven­ture that demands every­thing of you, phys­i­cal­ly and men­tal­ly.”

Best camera, Swiss Film Award 2018; Best direc­tor, Inner­schweiz­er Film­preis 2019; Jury Prize, Trento Film Fes­ti­val 2018