The films “Beyond the limits”

Films that have gone beyond limits, transcending social or technical conventions, challenging boundaries, or pushing filmmakers beyond the limits of sanity or reason in the making of their masterpieces.

Beyond the limits of REASON in the making of a masterpiece

Apocalypse Now

Apocalypse Now

By Francis Ford Coppola | friday march 8th at 8:30 pm at the Pathé Flon

USA / 1979 / 2h33 / French & German subtitles / 16 (16) / With Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Dennis Hopper

Presented by Alfred Lot


Coppola’s masterful Apocalypse Now explores new grounds in genre. One of the best war films in the history of cinema was borne out of one of the most hellish shoots in film history. “My film isn’t about Vietnam. It is Vietnam. It’s what it was really like. It was crazy. And the way we made it was very much like the way the Americans were in Vietnam. We were in the jungle, there were too many of us, we had access to too much money, too much equipment and little by little we went insane.”



By Werner Herzog | sunday march 10th at 1 pm at the Pathé Galeries

Germany / 1982 / 2h37 / French & German subtitles / 12(12) / With Klaus Kinski, Claudia Cardinale

Presented by Anne Brochet


Fitzcarraldo is an eccentric adventurer who dreams of building the world’s greatest opera house in the heart of the Amazon forest. An impoverished entrepreneur, he stops at nothing to achieve his dream, including dragging a massive steamboat over a mountain with thehelp of a reluctant band of natives. Klaus Kinski’s flamboyant character embodies the obsessive nature of the human psyche leading to excess and perdition. All this lulled by the beautiful music of Verdi. The making of the film itself became an epic endeavour, echoing its story.

Hearts of Darkness : A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse

Hearts of Darkness : A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse

By Fax Bahr, George Hickenbauer, Eleanor Coppola | sunday march 10th at 18h30 at the Cinématographe

USA / 1991 / 2h37 / French & German subtitles / 14(14) / With Eleanor Coppola, Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas, Dennis Hopper

Presented by Nabil Ayouch


One of the best documentaries ever made about the making of a film, Hearts of Darkness : A Filmmaker’s Apocalypsechronicles the extraordinary challenges faced by Francis Ford Coppola and his crew during the shooting of Apocalypse Now, threatening to destroy his career and his sanity. The shoot blurred the boundaries between reality and fiction. All this  brilliantly captured by the director’s wife Eleanor Coppola. Often filming and recording secretly, she takes us to the heart of Coppola’s mind blowing film-making experience.

L'enfer 1003

L’Enfer d’Henri-Georges Clouzot

By Serge Bromberg, Ruxandra Medrea | thursday march 7th at 1pm at the Pathé Galeries

France / 2009 / 1h40 / Original version / 16(16) / With Romy Schneider, Bérénice Béjo, Serge Reggiani


Like Icarus, the great French filmmaker Henri-Georges Clouzot went beyond his own limits and burned his wings. In 1964, fresh from his major film successes with The Wages of Fearand Diaboliques, the director took advantage of his producers’ unlimited backing to undertake a revolutionary film on all levels, both technically and narratively. Clouzot’s perfectionism, however, consumed his crew, his actors, and ultimately cost him his health, putting an end to his monumental project. What remains are beautiful, hypnotic images of Romy Schneider illuminated by heliophore, and a fascinating account of obsession in the creation of a masterpiece.

Exceeding the limits of SPEED and human ENDEAVOURS

Man on wire

Man on Wire

By James Marsh | thursday march 7th at 6:30 pm at the Cinématographe

USA / 2008 / 1h34 / v.o. s-t fr. / 10 (12) / With Philippe Petit


In 1974, French high-wire artist Philippe Petit made headlines by walking across a cable strung between the tops of the World Trade Center’s twin towers using no safety net, 400 meters above ground, and without authorisation. This true story about surpassing limits is a fantastic metaphor about the creative process. The technical challenges and extraordinary desire to make a dream come true are the driving force behind this documentary thriller.

Le Mans

Le Mans

By Lee H. Katzin | sunday march 10th at 5:30 pm at the Pathé Galeries

USA / 1971 / 1h43 / v.o. s-t fr. / 12 (12) / With Steve McQueen, Siegfried Rauch, Elga Andersen

Presented by Bruno Chiche


Few people know how involved Steve McQueen was in the making of this film – he assisted director Lee Katzin. It was his life’s dream to combine his passion for cinema with motor racing. McQueen wanted to show us the real world of speed racing, taking risks and mounting cameras on cars travelling at more than 300 km/h. Although the film was a commercial failure when it was released, it became a cult classic for motor racing fans, becoming for many one of the best racing films ever made thanks in part to its incredible camera work.

Weekend of a Champion

Weekend of a Champion

By Frank Simon Produit par Roman Polanski | dimanche 10 mars à 15h à Pathé Galeries

GB / 2013 / 1h33 / v.o. s-t fr. / 10(12) / With Jackie Stewart, Roman Polanski, Helen Stewart

Presented by Mark Stewart, son of Jackie Stewart


In the 60s and 70s, car drivers were worshiped like pop stars. Among them, three-time world champion Jackie Stewart. In 1971 his friend Roman Polanski filmed him during the weekend of the Monaco Grand Prix, which Stewart won that year. In order to win in Monaco, you must paradoxically master slowness. 40 years later in 2011, new footage was added to the documentary, showing the two friends reminiscing on a time when so many race car drivers lost their lives.

Surpassing the boundaries of the OUTER-MIND

2001: A Space Odyssey

2001 : A Space Odyssey

By Stanley Kubrick | saturday march 9th at 4:30 pm at the Pathé Flon

USA / 1968 / 2h29 / v.o. s-t fr./ 10(14) / With Keir Dullea, Gary Lockwood

Presented by Hugh Hudson


An epic journey through time and space. The film’s visionary speculation on human evolution explores the themes of technology, artificial intelligence, extraterrestrial life and consciousness. While NASA was preparing its lunar mission, Kubrick’s ship was already in the vicinity of Jupiter. The groundbreaking special effects serve this masterpiece as seamlessly as Strauss’ music serves its narrative. After more than 50 years, 2001: A Space Odysseyremains a symbol of freedom of imagination and technological breakthroughs.



By Andreï Tarkovski | friday march 8th at 3 pm at the Pathé Galeries

Union Soviétique / 1972 / 2h47 / v.o. s-t fr. / 16(16) / With Natalia Bondartchouk, Donatas Banionis

Presented by Olivier Guez


Released in 1972 at the height of the Cold War, Solaris was seen by many as the Soviet’s answer to Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey. Solaris is diametrically opposed  to Kubrick’s work however. Tarkovski shunned scientific and technological advances to focus on existentialism and emotion. A transcendental tale with a sublime love story, this work is a metaphysical journey reflecting our own inner quest.

Soylent Green

By Richard Fleischer | friday march 8th at 9 am at l’Ecal

USA / 1973 / 1h37 / v.o. s-t fr. / 12 (14) / With Charlton Heston, Leigh Taylor-Young

Presented by Jennifer Murzeau and Laurent Le Forestier


Soylent Green depicts a dystopian future for earth and humanity, where the planet’s resources are pushed too far resulting in suffering from pollution, poverty, overpopulation and depleted resources. This scenario, envisioned around forty years ago, was adapted from a 1966 novel. Soylent Green could be our reality in the not so distant future, leading us to reflect on how humanity has become a victim its own shortcomings.

Transcending social or narrative CONVENTIONS

Belle de jour

Belle de jour

By Luis Buñuel | thursday march 7th at 3 pm at the Pathé Galeries

France / 1967 / 1h40 / 16(16) / With Catherine Deneuve, Jean Sorel, Michel Piccoli

Presented by Rossy de Palma


Dissatisfied with her conventional life, a respectable surgeon’s wife decides to prostitute herself each afternoon in order to live out her masochistic erotic fantasies.

Luis Buñuel, master of the subconscious, still arouses emotion in the spectator more than fifty years later with his subversive masterpiece. When it was released, Belle de jourwas a huge success with more than two million spectators. It won the Golden Lion at the Venice Mostra.

A Clockwork Orange

A Clockwork Orange

By Stanley Kubrick | saturday march 9th at 1 pm at the Pathé Galeries

USA / 1971 / 2h16 / v.o. s-t fr. / 16(16) / With Malcolm Mc Dowell, Patrick Magee

Presented by Tim Pope


Alex is a sadistic gang leader with a taste for murderous raids. A lover of Beethoven and extreme violence, he roams the city in search of fights. Arrested by police, he undergoes an experimental psychological conditioning techniqueto eradicate his destructive impulses. The film’s violation of moral “decency” caused a scandal when released, but the film rapidly established itself as a cinema masterpiece.


Un chien Andalou

By Luis Buñuel | friday march 8th at 3:30 at the Cinématographe

France / 1929 / 16min / Muet intertitres all. / 12(14) / With Pierre Batchef, Simone Mareuil

Presented by Jean-Jacques Annaud


A man holds a woman’s eye wide open, takes a blade to her pupil and slashes it. We all remember these images. In 1929, Luis Buñuel and Salvador Dali joined their extraordinary imaginations to make this short film. It became surrealism’s most important film-manifesto. Exploring the tumultuous relationship between a man and a woman, the dislocated narrative combines subversive images, erotic and strange, rejecting rational explanation. Un chien Andalou remains a symbol of creative freedom.


By Tod Browning | friday march 8th at 3:30 pm at the Cinématographe

USA / 1932 / 1h02 / v.o. s-t fr. / 12(12) / With Wallace Ford, Leila Hyams

Presented by Jean-Jacques Annaud


Tod Browning’s 1932 tale of love and deception among the members of a carnival sideshow was considered perverse and grotesque upon its release. In the Tetrallini circus, freaks of all kinds coexist: midgets, siamese sisters, an armless woman, a limbless man… Frightfully disturbing and moving, Freaks was censored for more than thirty years in England before its rehabilitation in the 1960s, becoming an infamous cult classic. Scandalous for its time, this alarming yet profound film inspired many filmmakers, among them David Lynch.

Ai no corrida

Ai no corrida (In the Realm of the Senses)

By Nagisa Ôshima | thursday march 7th at 9 pm at the Cinématographe

Japon – France / 1976 / 1h42 / v.o. s-t fr. / 18(18) / With Eiko Matsuda, Tatsuya Fuji

Presented by Denis Dercourt


Nagisa Ôshima’s In the Realm of the Sensesis considered the first art-house pornographic film. A leading figure of Japanese cinema, Ôshima broke a taboo with his film and attracted the wrath of Japanese censure by bringing to the screen with unsimulated sex scenes the destructive relationship of two lovers. Based on a true story, the film takes place in a district of Tokyo in 1936. Sada Abe, a former Geisha who has become a hotel maid, and Kichizo, her boss, engage in an erotic journey that can only end in death.

Les Valseuses

Les Valseuses (Restored version)

By Bertrand Blier | saturday march 9th at 3 pm at the Pathé Galeries

France / 1974 / 1h57 / 16(16) / With Gérard Depardieu, Patrick Dewaere, Miou-Miou


Provocative and without inhibition, Les Valseusescaused a scandal when it was released. In an attempt to capture the freedom of May 1968, Bertrand Blier made waves by publishing his novel of the same name and then adapting it to the big screen. A French-style road movie, Les Valseusesfollows two thugs on the run, Jean-Claude (Gérard Depardieu) and Pierrot (Patrick Dewaere,) who take Marie-Ange (Miou-Miou) with them on their adventure. With its sex scenes, raw dialogue and seventies misogyny, this film probably wouldn’t be made today.

Breaking new TECHNICAL grounds

Blanche-Neige et les Sept Nains

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs

By Walt Disney Productions | friday march 8th at 9:30 am and sunday march 10th at the Paderewski

USA / 1937 / 1h23 / v.fr. / 6 (8) / 

Presented by Jean-Paul Rappeneau


Walt Disney’s first colour and sound animated feature film was an international success. It brought together a host of technical and artistic innovations: highly expressive and humane characters, a detailed and richly colourful set in Technicolor and an incredibly realistic depth-of-field. Not to mention its bewitching soundtrack. When it was released, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs won the Grand Prix at the Venice Mostra (1938) and an Oscar of honour in 1939… accompanied by seven little statuettes!

The Shining

The Shining

By Stanley Kubrick | saturday march 9th at 6:30 pm at the Cinématographe

USA / 1980 / 1h59 / v.o. s-t fr. / 16 (18) / With Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny Lloyd

Presented by Fred Grivois


This is the horror movie that caused its tormented viewers to lose the most calories. Everyone knows room 237 and the deserted geometrically carpeted corridors of the Overlook Hotel. Brilliantly directed, with its blood-curdling music and it’s truer-than-life actor (Jack Nicholson), The Shining makes for a truly innovative film. Stanley Kubrick reinvented the horror genre with a disturbing narrative, an oppressive labyrinthine setting and the first major use of Steadicam, adding to our disorientation in this terrifying maze.



By Fritz Lang | jeudi 7 mars à 15h30 au Cinématographe

Allemagne / 1927 / 2h30 / Intertitres anglais / 10(14) / With Alfred Abel, Brigitte Helm, Gustav Frohlich

Presented by Stéphane Tralongo (UNIL)


Metropolis, city of the 21st century. Rebellion is brewing among the slaves of the underground city, exploited for the benefit of a privileged caste who live in huge skyscrapers. The most expensive German film made in the great expressionist period and undoubtedly one of the most visually ambitious, Metropolis is a science fiction masterpiece and a powerful metaphor whose captivating force withstands the test of time.

The Matrix

The Matrix

By Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | sunday march 10th at 9 pm at the Cinématographe

USA / 1999 / 2h16 / v.o. s-t fr. / 12(16) / With Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss

Presented by Laurent Le Forestier (Unil)


At the end of the 1990s, Matrix was a movie like no other before it. It stood out with its special effects, its violence and its mix of philosophical and religious references. Audiences were also drawn to this new kind of Hong Kong style sci-fi with its perfectly choreographed fight scenes reminiscent of video games and manga comics.  The film combines martial arts with sophisticated cinematic innovations (the famous slow motion effect that allows you to see a bullet in flight) and rare special effects, such as bullet time. In 2000, it won 4 Oscars among many other awards.

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