Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976)

“The holes prophets make to see the future are the same ones historians use to look at the past.”

Jonah Poster

Former revolutionaries in Switzerland — including a high school teacher (Jacques Denis), a cashier (Miou-Miou), a typesetter-turned-gardener (Jean-Luc Bideau), and a secretary (Myriam Mezieres) — struggle to find meaning in their post-1960s lives.


Full of intelligent dialogue, quirky characters, and countless memorable moments, this European forerunner to John Sayles’ The Return of the Secaucus Seven (1980) remains one of Swiss director Alain Tanner’s most enjoyable and accessible films. By the end of the movie , we learn how these diverse characters are all (perhaps inevitably) connected to one another — but the finale seems natural rather than contrived, and takes nothing away from our genuine interest in their personal struggles up till then. Indeed, one can’t help rooting for these all-too-human characters as they struggle to reconcile their socialist ideals with the reality of life in a capitalist society. Ultimately, Tanner succeeds in portraying the passion and zeal of former revolutionaries without patronizing them — not an easy task.

Redeeming Qualities and Moments:

  • Denis’ unorthodox yet fascinating high school teaching methods
  • Miou-Miou’s early performance as a subversive cashier who steals food for her elderly neighbor
  • Mezieres as a secretary unabashedly into tantric sex

Must See?
Yes. This remains Tanner’s most enjoyable film, and is highly recommended.



One Response to “Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976)”

  1. First viewing. Not must-see; it caters to a very specialized audience. The casual film viewer may find it rough-going. The more adventurous will certainly have to pay attention.

    The assessment above clearly attests to the fact that Tanner’s film will speak to certain film fanatics. Alas, I’m not one of them.

    Although I can appreciate (and even agree with) the anti-capitalist sentiment and the sadness re: what of the past can be lost forever for the sake of progress, I find the film (aside from being too long, with some pointless sidebars) lacking in necessary cohesion.

    Overall, the film’s theme seems too important to be this undisciplined. It tends to shoot off in various directions when it would benefit from connecting more of the ideological dots.

    As well…at times, some of the characters seem to be little more than philosophical mouthpieces for the screenwriter. There are sections in which I simply found it unbelievable that certain people would suddenly be speaking in a flowery, over-intellectualized manner in the course of a regular conversation.

    I…kind of…got the reasoning of that when the schoolteacher goes off in such a manner…but I still thought, ‘Isn’t this kind of talk a bit in the clouds for this age group?’

    I wanted to like the film more than I did. I started getting antsy the longer it went on. I did kind of like it near the end – when the cast is singing a song based on the title of the film…wishing a better future for the about-to-be-born Jonah (and the world he will live in). But I still felt unsatisfied.

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