Skip to main content


Switzerland, 1971 (MIFF 1973)

Director: Alain Tanner

Alain Tanner's second feature is co-written by the English Marxist art critic, John Berger, and has earned much critical attention overseas for its treatment of the alienation of a young girl trapped within the mores of middle-class Switzerland. The salamander of the title equates the heroine with the legendary animal reputed to be able to live in fire.

Rosemonde is a normal enough girl, who lives between her bed and her job at a sausage factory. She has been dismissed of a charge of shooting her uncle with his army rifle, but the intrusion into her life of two men who work in television, reopens the affair. Pierre is a news journalist who has been assigned the task of writing a script about the shooting and the events surrounding it, and Paul is a novelist upon whom Pierre calls for assistance. Both attempt to reconstruct the situation in their own ways, and both find themselves attracted to Rosemonde. Yet both are also unable to make any satisfying contact with her, and their professional assignment is a failure.

Tanner's film is an account of the way the three people confront the environment in which they live.

See also...


Return from Africa is the latest film from Swiss director Alain Tanner, whose film The Salamander was shown at the Melbourne Festival last year. In Return from Africa, a young couple plan to leave ... More »


The story is set in the valley of Moruz, which contains the town of Moruz and St. Claret, about 25 kilometres apart. Paul,34, is the director of a factory in St. Claret. His father is a small farmer ... More »


Alain Tanner, whose earlier films from Salamander to The Middle of the World, were shown in previous Festivals in Melbourne, has created the most ambitious and complex of his socio-political comedies ... More »

A Line is a Line is a Line

Continuous disintegration of the content leads back to the medium— the line. Experiencing the medium as a medium helps to find the way from the surface to the message (other lines, pictures or ... More »

The Nails

Nails—large, small, thick, thin-are the actors of this film with a message about the dangers of the population explosion. ... More »


Echoing the work of filmmakers such as Herzog (especially Kasper Hauser), Bunuel, Flaherty and Vincent Ward's Vigil, Alpine Fire takes place entirely on the high slopes of a mountain in the Swiss ... More »

Select a festival
Search The Film Archive
Browse By Director