History of Switzerland cinema

Maher Asaad Baker
2 min readMar 31, 2023

Since the 1930s, Switzerland has had a thriving film industry, it was influenced by the close-by countries of France, Germany, and Italy, with whom it shares linguistic affinities.

With the power of those nearby nations, where film productions have played a significant role in influencing and transforming populations and societies, Swiss cinema develops its own aesthetic and path.

Yet, Switzerland’s film industry was not well-established by the time the talkie era started in 1930.

One of the reasons for this is the peculiar cultural divide of Switzerland into its three main language regions.

The three language-speaking areas of Switzerland, French, Italian, and German, look significantly more at their neighboring countries than they do at one another.

Early on, all movies shown in Switzerland were foreign works, frequently Lumière brother’s documentaries.

Nonetheless, Zurcher Sechselauten-Umzagwas began producing films in the nation in 1901, and Edward Bienz created Der Bergfuhrer, the Swiss first full-length motion picture, in 1917.

Switzerland did not produce any notable silent films.
Only a small number of early productions are known or noteworthy.

Although the Lumière brothers presented the first cinema screening in Switzerland, along with the rest of Europe, as early as 1896, not much else transpired at the Geneva national exhibition “exposition national” that year.

The Swiss film industry expanded steadily during World War II, with several notable moments including the 1930 release of Robert Wohlmut’s Bunzli Grossstadtabenteur, the country’s first spoken-word film.

From “Swiss cinema” book by Maher Asaad Baker

Swiss cinema — A book by Maher Asaad Baker