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Originating in the trend for ciné-clubs, the Festival first came into being in 1969. At the end of the seventies, it reached its first stage of maturity. It was in Nyon that it became possible to discover the films produced in the countries of the Eastern bloc, as well as those from other parts of the world, without forgetting Swiss productions which have always been outstanding for their subject matter and aesthetic qualities. It was also in Nyon that the various struggles for independence found an echo: ranging from the Third World countries to the emancipation of women and even taking part in sexual liberation.
The evolution of the Festival continued in 1995, when a new management was appointed. Renamed from then on « Visions du Réel », the event very quickly made a name for itself as one of the most important rendez-vous of this speciality cinema, both in Switzerland and on the international scene.
Alongside a program planning which encourages meetings and dialogue between every form of cinema du réel (experimental films, essays, diaries, family films, major reports, historical inquiries, epic or fragmentary stories), events such as Etats des Lieux and their Workshops which welcome the illustrious names of cinema (Johan van der Keuken, Robert Kramer, Alexandre Sokourov, Robert Frank, Raymond Depardon or Frederick Wiseman) have become musts. As for Séances spéciales, or Special Sessions, these shed new enlightenment on a group of coherent films ("Corpus Chisti" and Arte, Les Hommes-livres et Memoriav, Steps for the Future and
Atelier 02, etc.).
Visions du Réel is not just another international Festival. Situated in Nyon in Switzerland - geographically at the centre of Europe - the festival positions itself to be a crossroads, a stopping place presenting real opportunities for new discoveries, encounters and discussions. Working in French, German and English, the festival is an axis which provides a link between French and German-speaking cultures especially.
The objective of Visions du Réel is to show the world as it is perceived, to break away from the mainstream. The Festival offers a diversity of committed and inspired points of view while making it possible to correlate experiences, reflections and aspirations.
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