Why do Tamils know nothing about football
Hollywood? Clear. Bollywood? For sure. But where is Kollywood?
The director and screenwriter Anna Luif is happy about the new Swiss film director and spent months in temples and at colorful weddings for her latest film "Madly in Love".
By Jan JirátMail to authorTwitter profile of the author (interview) and Ursula Häne (photo)
WOZ: It has been known since last week that Ivo Kummer will be the new Swiss film director. The longtime director of the Solothurn Film Festival succeeds Nicolas Bideau, who is unpopular in the film industry. What are you hoping for the new film director?
Anna Luif: I am very happy about the choice of Ivo Kummer. I have to say that in my life I have not met many people with thoroughgoing integrity. Ivo Kummer is one of them. He doesn't talk a lot, but when he says something, it goes without saying. In addition, his heart beats for the film, he knows all Swiss films and their makers, and he will work for more and better scripts.
So can you say that with Ivo Kummer at the helm, Swiss films are facing a glorious future?
Whether a film is good does not depend on the director of the film. But it can create framework conditions that enable us filmmakers to realize good and convincing projects. And I trust Ivo Kummer to do that.
Her most recent film “Madly in Love”, which was shown in the cinema in spring 2010, deals with the Tamil community from Sri Lanka in Switzerland. How did you come across this topic?
After graduating from high school, I spent three months in India when I was nineteen. The local culture fascinated me as much as the playfulness in Hinduism. Hinduism knows as many and different gods as Greek mythology. I miss this playful element in Christianity. The confrontation with the Tamil community in Switzerland was certainly also related to my interest in the Hindu culture to which most Tamils belong. I also have a weakness for Kollywood films. The power of images, the exaggeration of life, the joy and emotionality of these films fascinate me.
The term Bollywood is well known. This is what the film industry is called in the Indian financial metropolis of Bombay. I've never heard of Kollywood.
Kollywood refers to the Tamil film industry. This is not based in Bombay or Sri Lanka, but in Chennai in southern India. The city is located in the Indian state of Tamil Nadu, where mainly Tamils live. In contrast to Bollywood films, which are often set in the urban "upper class", Kollywood productions are more often about rural life. The actor Rajinikanth, a short, round man, is also an absolute superstar for the Tamils from Sri Lanka. And Mani Ratnam - a very renowned and brilliant director - comes from the Kollywood scene.
How did you manage to gain access to the Tamil community in Switzerland? Was that easy?
About the Tamil writer Arulrasa Nageswaran, who lives in Switzerland, and the translator Pirapakaran Thangarajah. They made contact. Together with my co-author Eva Vitija, I conducted countless interviews with Tamils from all ages and backgrounds. We have also attended Tamil festivals, weddings and football tournaments. The community was very open. Most of them were happy about the interest in them and their culture.
During your work on “Madly in Love” the situation in Sri Lanka became more and more acute. The military cracked down on the Tamil liberation organization Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE) and finally defeated it in May 2009. How did the Tamil community react?
Everyone was completely horrified and depressed about the situation in their home country. Practically everyone had lost close relatives and acquaintances in the civil war. After the death of rebel leader Velupillai Prabhakaran, it was clear to the world that the Sinhalese had won - a bad idea for the Tamils.
What did the production of “Madly in Love” cost? And how much time did it take?
It cost a total of 2.8 million Swiss francs - for Swiss standards, production was in the higher, medium range. It took five years from the first idea for “Madly in Love” to its completion. A large part for the scriptwriting and the subsequent financing of the film, which was very laborious. The preparations for shooting, including the casting or the selection of costumes, locations and music, took another five months to complete, while the shooting days were limited to just under a month. Cutting and re-turning took another three to four months.
Hand on heart, you can't make a living from filmmaking alone?
No. I am extremely happy that I can work as a lecturer at the Zurich University of the Arts. In the fall semester I am teaching there in the field of film and photography together with Michel van Grondel at the creative propaedeutic course.
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