Max Frisch, Citoyen (2008)
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After Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Niklaus Meienberg died, Max Frisch was the last of the big Swiss intellectuals actively pursuing this role and being perceived as such by those around him, both in Switzerland and abroad. Since his death in 1991, no other voices have emerged to replace him. On the… More After Friedrich Dürrenmatt and Niklaus Meienberg died, Max Frisch was the last of the big Swiss intellectuals actively pursuing this role and being perceived as such by those around him, both in Switzerland and abroad. Since his death in 1991, no other voices have emerged to replace him. On the contrary: in Switzerland, as in other countries, writers and thinkers have ceased to be a major influence on social issues and processes. Thus, the question arises whether their contribution is needed at all. The film "The Voice of Max Frisch" tells Frisch's story as a "voice", explaining how his active contribution to society developed and how this became an integral part of his entire life. While Frisch focuses on his personal situation, his perspective also reflects the history of the 20th century as a whole, which he experienced mostly in Switzerland and Germany and which he witnessed almost from the beginning to the end. Max Frisch's view, therefore, is a record of our most recent history, on which today's world is built. The substance of the film is taken from Frisch's own texts covering his entire career including his earliest works. They evolve into some form of lifetime account in the author's own words: from his initial astonishment in view of the world to the horror of war, from his "awakening" to the way he began to make his voice heard in public - which he continued to do until he died. Archive material of the times and events referred to by Frisch illustrate the author's accounts, amalgamating into his "personal" history of the 20th century. There is also footage of Max Frisch himself as well as current images, illustrating that Frisch's texts are no less topical today. In order to complement and contrast the Frisch perspective, fellow writers of the time provide their views, e.g. Peter Bichsel, Günter Grass, Christa Wolf, as well as several renowned politicians who knew Frisch personally, e.g. Helmut Schmidt and Henry Kissinger. Finally, some of the author's close friends round off the film, bringing the writer's aura back to life. The interaction between the various aspects presented make it possible to follow Frisch's footsteps closely and intensively. And the key question - valid well beyond Max Frisch and Switzerland - keeps cropping up again: What role should intellectuals play in society? And why is it that the big thinkers keep so quiet today?