Samir prepares The Miraculous Transformation of the Working Class into Foreigners

Samir prepares The Miraculous Transformation of the Working Class into Foreigners

– The director investigates his personal story again by putting it in parallel with that of Switzerland, where he arrived as a child

This article is available in English.

In his previous fiction film, 2019’s Baghdad in my Shadow [+lire aussi :
critique
bande-annonce
fiche film
]
, samir already tackled the theme of migration through the eyes of three protagonists who left Iraq – the director’s own homeland – behind in order to take refuge in London. In his next documentary film, The Miraculous Transformation of the Working Class into Foreignerson which filming began in November, Samir once again turns his gaze to the experience of migration, though this time reflecting upon the history of the nation which welcomed him as a child and where he still lives today: Switzerland.

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The Miraculous Transformation of the Working Class into Foreigners, produced by Dschoint Ventschr Filmproduktion (the director’s own production company) alongside Italy’s Casa delle Visioni and RSI Radiotelevisione svizzera, was selected for the IDFA Forum and the Apulia Film Forum where it attracted the attention of numerous TV networks (including ARTE) and potential co -producers. Samir also benefitted from a two-month grant from the Swiss Institute in Rome in order to take his research further, as well as support from the Swiss Federal Office for Culture, the Zurich Film Fund, the Canton of Aargau and the “Library of the Working Class” Foundation.

The film is based on an event which, according to the director, shaped and continues to shape the perception which Switzerland has of the many foreigners who call the country home: the so-called Schwarzenbach Initiative which, at the historical beginning of the Seventies, aimed to deport half of Switzerland’s foreign workers from Swiss soil. Although those eligible to vote (at that time exclusively composed of overwhelmingly white men) narrowly rejected the initiative, the hostility which they displayed in public towards so many foreign workers who had helped the Swiss economy prosper since the early Sixties was a real shock for many . Among those shocked was young Samir, a fifteen-year-old migrant who lived in Zurich suburb Dübendorf. It’s from the sense of rejection he felt and which shaped the rest of his life that the film unfolds.

The movie makes good use of animation (created with the help of motion capture technology) in order to mix social events of the time with the director’s own personal story. For the very first time in a documentary, The Miraculous Transformation of the Working Class into Foreigners avails itself of the most modern technologies in game design in order to link up the film’s various formal levels. The movie is punctuated by brief animated segments which summarize the director’s memories and reflect the external reality as well as the characters’ inner worlds. The director’s avatars were created using programs such as METAHUMANS while the landscapes and effects were brought together using the game tool UNREAL ENGINE. Samir doesn’t hesitate to bring these new creative possibilities into play in order to depict the past as realistically as possible, with historians and migration experts on hand to lend context to these events and reconnect them to the present, placing them within a scientific setting .

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