"Behind every movie is a personal story and we find a way to tell it to the world."

Der Schwarze Tanner

a film by Xavier Koller

During the Second World War Tanner (Otto Mächtlinger), a swiss mountain farmer, refuses to follow the government policy for the so called Anbauschlacht, a plan to increase self-sufficiency with produce. In his opinion, the steep mountain pastures are not suited for agriculture. Most of the villagers agree. However some begin to cultivate. Even after all his fellow farmers have given in and have started to plant potatoes, wheat and rye, Tanner continues his opposition and ignores all letters and instructions. This leads to a series of reprimands, for instance, some of his hay is seized and his wife (Renate Steiger) cannot buy at the local grocer's since the family won't comply with the government policy. One of the daughters is caught trying to sell cheese and eggs on the black market. Finally, Tanner is arrested and imprisoned. He demonstrates his obstinacy and strength with a hunger strike. When the wardens try to tempt him to eat, he tells them that he will start eating again back at home. The authorities finally see that the risk is too great and decide to let Tanner walk free. The weak old man is taken home by car and sleigh where he is welcomed by his family. He asks the men who brought him home to go inside and have a cup of coffee. In the meantime Tanner stays outside for a bit in the snow and dies.

1985 | Switzerland | 107min. | Feature Film
Dialogue: Swiss German
Subtitles: Deutsch, English

Festivals and Awards

Karlovy Vary International Film Festival (Winner)
Montreal Festival Vipreski (Winner)
29th Haifa International Film Festival

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Otto Mächtlinger, Renate Steiger, Giovanni Früh
Jürgen Cziesla, Albert Freuler, Ernst C. Siegrist
Directed by: Xavier Koller
Written by: Xavier Koller, Walo Deubler
Producer: Alfi Sinniger
Cinematography: Elemér Ragályi
Editing:  Fee Liechti
Production Design: Rolf Engler
Costumes: Sylvia De Stoutz
Music: Hardy Hepp