Films by Henry Brandt

La Course au bonheur, 1964
Ton pays est dans le monde, 1964

Sep 3, 2021 13:00 Arsenal Cinema, from Sep 4 on arsenal 3
Introduction: Frédéric Maire (Director of Cinémathèque suisse)

LES NOMADES DU SOLEIL (The Nomads of the Sun), Henry Brandt, Switzerland 1953, DCP, OV/EnS, 44 min

This ethnographic film follows the nomadic life of the Wodaabe Fulani ethnic group, whose life is punctuated by the dry and rainy seasons. Included in a multimedia project, this medium-length film shows the daily life of this nomadic people whose main rituals take place during the “time of green grass.” The preparation and running of the annual Guerewol festival are carefully captured by the filmmaker. It is a prenuptial ritual taking place over several days in which men, adorned with jewellery and make-up, perform songs and dances under the watchful eye of their potential brides and members of the community. The director acts as a witness to a dying world: “How long will the Wodaabe be able to preserve their superb and fragile independence?” (

LA SUISSE S’INTERROGE (Switzerland ponders), Henry Brandt, Switzerland 1964, DCP, OV, 22 min

LA SUISSE S’INTERROGE is a series of five short films presented in the Voie Suisse, one of the main attractions at Expo 64. Henry Brandt deconstructs the idealized image both citizens and foreigners have of Switzerland. The exhibition layout used a combination of screens and formats that follow on from one another: LA SUISSE EST BELLE (Switzerland is beautiful) was shot in cinemascope and in colour; PROBLÈMES (Problems) in black and white and 16mm; the only fictional film of the filmmaker's career, LA COURSE AU BONHEUR (The race to happiness), portrays a materialistic family; CROISSANCE (Growth) was shown in colour on three screens; TON PAYS EST DANS LE MONDE (Your country is in the world) ends the series in black and white with a split screen. These five films demonstrate an astonishing freedom of speech within the constraints of a commissioned work. (