Paolo Poloni, CH 2014, 93’
Director, screenplay and cinematography: Paolo Poloni
Editing: Fee Liechti, Paolo Poloni
Music: Cyril Boehler
Sound: Allah ditta Choudhry
Producer: Franziska Reck
Production: Reck Filmproduktion, info@reckfilm.ch
Swiss Distributor: Look Now!, info@looknow.ch
10.08.14, 11.00 – Cinema Teatro Kursaal
11.08.14, 18.30 – L'Altra Sala

en / it / de / fr

«What can I say about my film? Not much. It is a simple story about a village in Pakistan. But that village could be anywhere in the world. It was a privilege and a joy to be able to spend some time in Mulhapar.» (Paolo Poloni) Paolo Poloni Born in Lucerne in 1954, studied Roman Languages and Philosophy in Zurich and Paris. He lives in Zurich, where he has been making so-called documentaries for 20 years, among them: Witschi geht (1991), Asmara (1993), Fondovalle (1998), Viaggio a Misterbianco (2003), Salonica (2008), Der Italiener (2011).

The opening of the film vaguely resembles a scene from Fellini’s masterpiece Amarcord, in which a man, sitting on a tree, ardently cries out «Voglio una donna!» – «I want a woman!» Here, a man walks along with his small herd of cows and screams in regular intervals «I’m a bachelor, I’m a bachelor!» We’re not in Italy though, but on the streets of Mulhapar, a village in Pakistan. The film focuses on two girls, young teenagers and best friends. One is Muslim, the other Christian. They and their families are among the poorest in the village. To make ends meet they sew footballs, work as day labourers on the rice paddy fields or as maids for one of the rich families. In an unhurried manner Paolo Poloni introduces us to this village and lets us participate in the daily life of his protagonists. Thus we slowly get to know them and their village – their worries and passions, the complex network of relationships, the festivities as well as the small dramas and big disasters. The director also operated the camera, creating images so impressive and intense that we can almost feel the morning mist on our own skin or sense the sun piercing our eyes at noon on the rice paddy fields.

The film shows daily life in Pakistan, far removed from the news reports we read. In the village of Mulhapar there is a clear and strict order: Five large Muslim families own almost everything and the others live in poverty. A small community of Christians has worked as servants to these families for decades without being allowed to own land themselves. They are tolerated, have a small church in the village and celebrate their own church festivals.

Poloni directs our gaze to perceive small details: The hand of the Muslim landowner, which rests on the leg of a Christian farmhand to keep it still. The Christmas celebration that seems so strange to us because of the chanting and the percussion. The quiet passing of time is contrasted with dramatic moments – a criminal act, large festivities, an unusual visit from transsexual Hijras resulting in another bizarre Fellini-moment in this otherwise quiet portrait. In the end, we are left with the impression of having got to know the village and the people living there. We are left to wonder what will become of the two best friends from different religious backgrounds who would one day like to be buried in the same cemetery even though that is impossible. And the call of the bachelor, who still hasn’t found a wife, keeps ringing in our ears.

Brigitte Häring