“Each of us is defined by what he does. This being the case, the only thing left for me is to undo myself neatly.”
On the 100th anniversary of his family’s watchmaking company, Charles De (Francois Simon) experiences a midlife crisis and runs away from home. His family hires a private investigator (Walter Schochli) to look for him; in the meantime, Charles enjoys his new life with a young Bohemian couple (Marcel Robert and Marie-Claire Dufour) he has met by chance.
Genres, Themes, Actors, and Directors:
- Midlife Crisis
- Swiss Films
Swiss director Alain Tanner’s feature debut isn’t quite as accessible as his later masterpieces — such as Jonah Who Will Be 25 in the Year 2000 (1976 — but nonetheless effectively showcases his signature style and themes. The smart, literate script is primarily concerned with showing us the inner transformation of the title character (well-played by Francois Simon), doing so through an insightful, sometimes humorous presentation of divergent lifestyle choices. While it may not be for all tastes, Charles… remains recommended viewing for all film fanatics.
Redeeming Qualities and Moments:
- Francois Simon as the soul-searching businessman
- Effective b&w cinema verite camera work
No, though it’s certainly worth a look as Tanner’s feature debut, and for holding a special place in the history of Swiss cinema.