After my last documentary FORGET BAGHDAD many people were surprised to hear about SNOW WHITE, asking themselves why a middle-aged film-maker stemming from Iraq would want to direct a melodramatic love-story set in the Zurich nightclub scene.
My youth in Switzerland in the 1970s was strongly influenced by parties and pop concerts where drug consumption was the norm and sexuality was experimented with.
In effect, despite this movie's setting in the present day, my youth does not differ that greatly from that of the characters in my film. The only difference being perhaps that in those days we were united against a culturally rigid, almost «anti-youth» society, thus making us feel like «rebels» against the system. It could be argued that nowadays, on the other hand, pop music, drugs and sexuality form the mere hedonistic spearheads of a cynical consumer society.
Evidently, my background is far removed from that of Nico's, who comes from a very affluent, wealthy family. Paco, as a working class immigrants' son, on the other hand, could perhaps be seen as my «Alter Ego». Even though hip-hop as such did not exist in my days, I did listen to black music, I supported radical, left wing beliefs and shocked my middle class friends with passionate political tirades.
Moreover, like Paco, I was unable to help those people facing adversity with my theoretical revelations about the state of the world. It took me a few years to realise that rich people could suffer too and that solutions for socio-political problems weren't necessarily going to provide me with clues as to the meaning of life.
Then four years ago, after extensive research into the Zurich club scene we had a rough outline for the film including sketches for all the main character (Paco, Nico, Wanda and Boris). In addition, personal experiences gave me enough material to complete many of the scenes, characterisations and subplots of SNOW WHITE.
In my past films, and as a filmmaker in general, I had always been interested in those strong emotions that stem from difficult, but realistic love-stories. Due to my «Arabic» childhood, which was strongly influenced by Indian and Egyptian melodramas, I was convinced that SNOW WHITE had to play in the here and now, and that, besides an almost documentary like realism, would have to include fairytale moments.
I knew that a melodrama (albeit one with a hopeful ending) would be far removed from anything I had made in the past. And I expect, and hope, that this film will attract a larger, especially younger, audience.
Although I was intent on producing an entertaining, commercial film: one where the story itself was firmly in the foreground, I still insisted on employing modern film language.
Set as it is, in the «music scene», the films' structure and content came into being very much by itself. Not restricted by classical Hollywood-dramatisation (i.e., a hero, an obstacle and an aim) I felt freer to pursue a visual style, which would incorporate musical elements, such as picture overlaps (which we created using split-screen and window techniques).
Language too, plays a very important role in this film. That we produced a Swiss German/French bilingual film, was not due to marketing reasons, but simply a result of the fact that I insisted on casting Carlos Leal, an excellent hip hop singer and actor, who would lend an incredible amount of authenticity to the lead role.
Samir, Summer 2005
|Last update: 20.01.2006, Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion|