CH 2005 113'
Script: Michael Sauter, Samir
Camera: Andreas Hutter, Michael Saxer, Hans Meier
Sound: Max Vornehm
Editing:: Oliver Neumann
Music:: Walter W. Cikan & Marnix Veenenbos, Carlos Leal
Production:: Dschoint Ventschr
With: Julie Fournier, Carlos Leal, Zoé Miku, Stefan Gubser, Stefan Kurt, Pascal Ulli, Patrick Rapold, Martin Rapold, Xaver Hutter, Benedict Freitag, Wolfram Berger, Sunnyi Melles, Beatrice Kessler, Liliana Heimberg, Mike Müller
Is Snow White a tribute to the era of sex, drugs, rock'n'roll and politics?
Samir : Yes, that's true. All of the above have my fingerprints all over them... I have always been curious to give society a shake, and I still cherish the dream that one day it will change for the better !
20 year-old Nico (Julie Fournier) lives to party. She comes from an affluent neighbourhood on Zurich's Goldcoast and since finishing highschool she's been taking things easy, living life day by day and focussing, above all else, on herself. Her relationship towards her parents is practically non-existant. Her father strives to make a name for himself and earn lots of money as a banker and is thus hardly ever at home. Her mother lives alone, unable to get to grips with her life, and at times so manically depressed that she doesnt recognise her own daughter.
Nico spends her time in the local discotheque with her best friend Wanda (Zoé Miku). Nico is able to afford her extravagant life-style by maintaining an affair with the clubs' owner, Boris (Stefan Gubser). Wanda on the other hand, couldnt be more different to Nico, stemming as she does, from a lower working class background. Wanda is determined to take advantage of her good looks to make as much money as possible.
Nico is intelligent enough to see through her own superficial lifestyle, but too indecisive and unsure as to how to change it. Her insecurities and fears are well hidden beneath her cool, controlled exterior. Fighting against the growing sensation of emptiness that is enveloping her, she enrolls onto a theatre course where she is given the chance to play the part of the Queen of the Amazones in the classic greek tale of Penthesilea.
One evening in Boris' club, she meets the frontman of the Hip-Hop band «Menace Evasions». Paco (Carlos Leal), the son of Spanish immigrants, is critical towards his success, aware that his songs are being played in supermarkets but that no one cares to listen or understands his lyrics.
The gig at the club ends in catastrophe when Paco encourages Boris' guests to help themselves to drinks. Boris forcibly interrupts the concert, sends the band packing, vowing not to pay them. Fascinated by Paco's provocative style Nico decides to confront him backstage. It is only the next day, however, when Nico coincidentally shows up at the band's video shoot, that the two slowly fall in love with each other.
Nico is impressed by Paco. A «rebel» who uses words like «message» without irony, who never gives up and who has fought his way up in life. Paco, similarly fascinated by Nico's carefree spontaneity, decides to change his life and in future, only do those things which he really enjoys doing. First, however, he has to go on tour with his band, leaving Nico behind.
Nico arduously tries to incorporate some of Paco's rebelious approach to life into her own world, with self destructive consequences.
Samir about his film
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.