David Vogel, Switzerland 2019, 99'
World Premiere
Sun. 11.8.2019, 11h00, La Sala
Mon. 12.8.2019, 19h00, L'altra Sala

en / it / de / fr

Snow is falling outside an apartment in the region of Lausanne. Unexpectedly going against this familiar background, a young man says his prayer in Arabic. Johan has a shaved head and a meticulously trimmed beard. He puts on a camouflage tracksuit to do his tractions, silently.

Johan is the first Swiss Muslim convert to be met by David Vogel. Converts have a reputation of being more radical than people born in a Muslim world. More convinced, more fervent, more inflexible. An image forged mostly by Nicolas Blancho, the president of the Islamic Central Council of Switzerland, who is known for his tacit radicalism. It’s no coincidence that David Vogel had the idea to make Shalom Allah while watching him on television. As a professional journalist, David wanted to understand why converting to Islam is a phenomenon that involves more and more Swiss citizens. Tired of excessive and simplistic approaches, he aimed to create a true discussion with multiple converts. From Johan to Aïcha, a young woman who experiences her new faith with ecstasy, to the Lo Manto family who had an epiphany during their holidays and must deal with the bias of their relatives, the film’s objective is to understand what drives people on such a spiritual journey.

Showcasing a rare level of intellectual honesty, Shalom Allah also gives birth to a surprising back-and-forth: by meeting these new Muslims, David Vogel’s religious past catches up with him, forcing him to ponder on the reasons that made him distance himself with Judaism.

Thomas Gerber