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Babylon 2

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Semaine de la critique Locarno

ISAN: 0000-0000-CE27-0000-Z-0000-0000-6

Babylon 2 (The Big Mid Land)

CH 1993 91'

Réalisation: Samir
Scénario: Samir, Pierre-François Mennel
Image: Samir
Son: Roman Küng, Sabine Boss, Peter Bräker
Montage: Ronnie Wahli
Musique:: Peter Bräker, Sens Unik, Debbie Dee, Luana
Production: Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion AG

Samir 1993 91'

«Half and half» is the most frequent reply from «secondos» and children of emigrants, when asked whether they feel Swiss or foreign.

People here given a voice include Luana, who raps in English and was born in Basle to parents from Calabria, and Ersan Sahin, the only Turkish ice hockey player for miles around, who explains why he goes out with an Italian girl. Also heard are Saida, a Tunisian born romance studies student and MC Carlos, son of Spanish parents and a member of the French-language rap band "Sens Unik".

"In BABYLON 2 Samir takes fragmentation and polyphony in new directions by dismantling and superimposing images (film, video and digitally processed photographs) and running the soundtrack in 4 languages (German, English, Italian and French). This, together with comments in the shape of titles, explanatory subtitles and the occasional appearance of fragments of Arabic writing, combines to create a dense, ironic and baroque palimpset about immigrants in Switzerland.
Samir, himself born to an Iraqi father and Swiss mother, emigrates to the Switzerland of his childhood (...)In the course of the film, Samir returns to scenes from his childhood memories 51; or so he would have us believe. For example, he also gives the caretaker of the blocks of flats in the area he grew up in 51; an area almost exclusively inhabited by foreigners 51; a chance to speak.
The film ends with an interview with Michel, a Swiss Jew who plays Samir in the film. Michel tells us how one evening they were being pestered by skinheads, who called Samir a "bloody Jew" and Michel a "filthy Arab". Both of them can see the funny side of the situation and burst into laughter. This snook cocking at racist stupidity sets the main tone of this subtle, unusual and imaginative film pervaded by a distinctive ironic intelligence."
Bérénice Reynaud, Libération