The Village: Lindtberg’s message of peace celebrated at Cannes Classics

THE VILLAGE © Cinémathèque Suisse/Praesens Films

Cannes Classics takes a trip down memory lane with The Village by Leopold Lindtberg. Although Henri-Georges Clouzot won the Palme d’or for The Wages of Fear in 1953, that year saw Lindtberg showered with applause for what would be his last film shown on the big screen. Seventy years later, The Village is back in a restored version.

Cannes and Lindtberg go all the way back to the very first edition of the Festival in 1946. That year, the Competition showcased forty-odd feature films, including the Swiss director’s Grand Prix-winning The Last Chance. The film tells the story of two prisoners fleeing Italy for Switzerland and struggling with a tricky dilemma after meeting a group of refugees. Set in post-war Europe, The Last Chance was an ode to togetherness and solidarity expressed in a pared-back, authentic style.


Leopold Lindtberg was back in Competition six years later with Four in a Jeep, and went on to serve up what was to be his last fiction film in 1953 with The Village. The village in question is Pestalozzi, nestled deep in the Swiss Alps and built after the war to welcome in two hundred orphans from across Europe. While the adults and children here embarked on a quest for perfect harmony, community living emerged as being more tumultuous than expected.

There have been several versions of The Village since it was first released, with varying runtimes tailored to French, German and Austrian audiences. Now a full seventy years later, the original version screened at Cannes has made its way back to the Festival in the ultimate tribute to Leopold Lindtberg’s pacifist cinema.

Presented by the Cinémathèque Suisse. 4K restoration by the Cinémathèque Suisse in collaboration with the SRF and Memoriav’s support. A Praesens Films production. Laboratory: Cinegrell, Zurich.

Screening attended by Frédéric Maire, Director of the Cinémathèque Suisse.