“I’m a f---ing moralist!” says Yilmaz Arslan.
It has been a long time since we last used the “m”-word, but in a world dominated by Hollywood, it’s good to remind us that there are still filmmakers out there who are driven by more than the desire to produce multi-part, merchandising-driven franchises.
Yilmaz Arslan, whose mother tongue is Arabic, was born in 1968 in Turkey and came to Germany with his parents when he was eight.
Fratricide, which uses the archaic form of tragedy to tell of the hatred, hardened by generations, between Turks and Kurds - an encounter with deadly consequences between two pairs of brothers in a foreign country - has its roots in a planned documentary. “I originally wanted to make a film about young Kurdish asylum seekers,” says Arslan, “but as the kids opened up and spoke to me I realized it was just too hot a topic. It would have gotten them into trouble. But it still boiled inside me and I decided to do it using fiction.”
Failing to get German subsidy money (“Ask them why!” says Arslan), he very quickly found Luxemburg and French partners. “There was instant understanding,” he says. “I got almost a declaration of love for the project.”
As for using non-actors, Arslan says “the film screams for them! I need fresh, young faces. They can’t look like they’re from Germany. The film has to be as authentic as possible; it has to look as authentic as possible. I’ve had good experience with amateurs and if you make an effort, give them a chance, they open up and develop.”
In examining why young people undertake the arduous and dangerous journey to Europe, Fratricide reveals “the almost magical attraction it holds for those fleeing war, or desperately seeking a better life. It’s a privilege to be a European,” says Arslan, “and it’s very important to sensitize these rich countries to the effect they have on others. It attracts them but they still remain spiritually crippled.”
“The world is already divided into a hierarchical structure,“ says Arslan. “The US, Europe, Asia, Africa. Tension leads to war and solving war is an economic factor. Children and young people are always the victims. They lose their lives and perspectives. Right now, there is a small war being waged against small, weak people right here in Europe. It’s meaningless and unfair.”
Yilmaz Arslan was born in Kazanli/Turkey in 1968 and came to West Germany in 1975. He founded the theater group "Summer-Winter" in 1988 and completed his secondary school education in 1991. His 1992 directorial debut, Passages, was named Best First Film at the San Sebastian and received a Silver Rose Prize in Bergamo and a nomination to the German Film Awards in 1993. His other films include Yara, which premiered at Venice in 1998, and Angst isst Seele auf (2002), which premiered at Venice in 2002.
Category Feature Film Cinema
Year of Production 2004
Director Yilmaz Arslan
Screenplay Yilmaz Arslan
Director of Photography Juergen Juerges
Editor Peter Przygodda
Music by Rabih Abou-Khalil
Producers Yilmaz Arslan, Donato Rotunno, Eddy Géradon-Luyckx, Eric Tavitian, Horst Knechtel
Production Company Yilmaz Arslan Film/Mannheim, in co-production with Tarantula/Luxemburg, Tarantula/Paris, CineImages/Martinsried
Format 35 mm, color, 1:1.85
Shooting Language German/Turkish/Kurdisch
Shooting in France, Luxemburg, Kurdistan, June - August 2004
Sound Technology Dolby SR
Festival Screenings Locarno 2005
With backing from MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg, Hessische Rundfunk Foerderung, MEDIA, Rhone Alpes Cinema, Film Fonds Luxemburg
Yilmaz Arslan Filmproduktion GmbH
Yilmaz Arslan, Petra Barkowski-Arslan
phone +49-6 21-1 58 29 38
fax +49-6 21-1 56 93 66