Honorary Award 2021

Lilo Pulver
© SRF / Claudio Ricci, 2014

Honorary Award 2021 for Lilo Pulver

Liselotte Schmid-Pulver, better known by her stage name Lilo Pulver, was born in 1929 in Berne, where she also trained as an actor at drama school. She soon became a popular performer not only in Switzerland but also in Germany, and in 1958 was chosen to play a lead role in a film by director Douglas Sirk. It marked the start of an international film career during which she received countless prizes and awards, and was nominated for a Golden Globe in 1964. She retired from acting in 2012 and now lives in Berne.

Known for her casual and humorous acting style, Lilo Pulver was a leading figure in classic Swiss cinema of the 1950s. Although she was often called upon to play conservative female parts, her performances, which blended subtlety with rebelliousness, assured her a rapid route to popularity and stardom. In 1961 Hollywood director Billy Wilder engaged her for his comedy “One, Two, Three”, which was set in Berlin. Her “sabre dance” on a table, with which she captivates a Soviet delegation, has gone down in the annals of cinema history. As well as comedies, however, she also appeared in numerous dramas, including a dazzling performance in Jacques Rivette’s “La Religieuse” as an abbess who falls in love with a young nun – a theme that led to the film being banned after its première in Cannes. Fortunately, this had no effect on the progress of her international career.

Sadly, the next generation of Swiss film-makers did not see fit to involve Lilo Pulver in their projects. The Honorary Award for Lilo Pulver is therefore intended to build a bridge between the present and the early days of Swiss film history. First and foremost, however, it is a homage to the actor Lilo Pulver, whose career saw her progress from Swiss to international cinema before triumphantly returning home.

Jury Swiss Film Award, 25th January 2021