L'enfant d'en haut

France, Switzerland


A luxury ski resort in Switzerland. 12-year-old Simon lives in the industrial valley below, with his jobless sister. Every day, he takes the ski-lift to the opulent ski world above, stealing equipment from the rich tourists to resell to the local kids back down. As he partners with a crooked British seasonal worker, Simon loses his boundaries, which affects the relationship with his sister. Confronted with a truth they had both been escaping, Simon seeks refuge up above.

Director's Statement

Long after I had started on the story of SISTER, the memory of a young boy suddenly came back to me. I grew up in the shadow of the Jura Mountains, where going up to a winter resort to ski was part of our everyday life. There was a boy who often used to come skiing on his own, whilst we were always in a group. He skied very poorly, yet blasted flat-out down the pistes, as if he was getting high from the speed and risk. He seemed to derive such pleasure from being “up there”. This boy intrigued me, and then I found out that he was banned from the mountain restaurants because he was suspected of stealing from customers. The people who worked in the resort advised us to keep an eye on our things and to keep away from him. But this little thief continued to fascinate me, perhaps because he didn't really belong in such a setting, not coming from the social class that has the money to pay for ski equipment and lift passes. His stealing carried on and he ended up being permanently banned from riding up to the resort in the cable car. This young thief − without any friends, skiing like a madman on the snow-covered pistes of the Jura − remained an anonymous mystery for me. At the time, I was barely twelve years old, the same age as Simon in the film, and I still remember him.

Cast & Crew

Directed by: Ursula Meier

Written by: Antoine Jaccoud, Ursula Meier, Gilles Taurand

Produced by: Denis Freyd, Ruth Waldburger

Cinematography: Agnès Godard

Editing: Nelly Quettier

Production Design: Ivan Niclass

Original Score: John Parish

Cast: Gillian Anderson (the English Lady), Léa Seydoux (Louise), Kacey Mottet Klein (Simon), Martin Compsten (Mike)

Nominations and Awards

  • European Young Audience Award 2012
  • Feature Film Selection 2012