YIDFF 2011 New Asian Currents
A Trip to the Barbershop
An Interview with Selim Mourad (Director)

To All People

Q: My recollections of this film are of its experimental images, the pretty pink on black and white. I was first drawn in by the title and wonder, why did you cut your hair?

SM: Using pink, black and white in this film, I tried to invoke images of the dark and gloomy death inside me, and the life that shines out from it. When I left for this trip, the one I loved was far away. I felt uneasy and worried; that sadness and longing gathered into this film. I tried to change myself so that I could escape it, and I cut my hair.

Q: What are your thoughts on the setting of this film, Copenhagen, and your home, Beirut?

SM: In this film I fused images of both places and to build a new Third City that was in my head. When I first arrived in Copenhagen I was alienated from being unable to communicate and having no friends. But as I turned my camera toward the city, I found it to be very beautiful. Beirut is not a beautiful city, but it is filled with the energy of its people. So in this film I combined the sounds of Beirut with images of Copenhagen, and I tried to realize the new city inside me.

Q: You directed this film toward Erio, but in the end there’s a line that says, “To you, whoever you are.” Who is that directed to?

SM: Granted, in the beginning I’m talking to Erio. But as I was making the film I started to think it would be better to direct my eyes toward a greater existence encompassing all people, rather than a single person. I think the goal of an artist is to call out to all people. Artists must open themselves to people with closed hearts and people they don’t know. I feel that is my mission. The message in the end means this film is directed not just toward Erio, but everyone, of which he is one.

Q: Why did you decide to appear in this film yourself?

SM: I think more filmmakers should appear in their own films, as filmmakers must be able to converse with themselves. Filmmakers generally direct films from off-stage. But for directors to communicate themselves to an audience, they first have to know themselves well. Appearing in the film connects to a filmmaker’s understanding of his or herself, and also opens-up expressive possibilities. Before going on this trip I read-up on Denmark. I learned of the various incidents and demonstrations going on there. I thought it was important to see the city with my own eyes, feeling it directly as I made this film. Films are born from questions of everyday life. This time, I shot continously for five weeks. While shooting the city I gradually came to see my own style and express a new self. I’m always pressured by producers and never able to do what I want. I think that new expressions emerge when shooting outside a framework, making films out of liberty and free will.

(Compiled by Nihei Tomomi)

Interviewers: Nihei Tomomi, Okada Mana / Interpreter: Hirano Kanae / Translator: Kyle Hecht
Photography: Tanaka Miho / Video: Ichikawa Eri / 2011-10-06