Swiss actor Joel Basman, dressed as a young Orthodox Jew, discovered that some of the worst streets to walk around were in Zurich … in the Orthodox Jewish community.
"In some Jewish areas, Shabbat, you're not allowed to work, of course, you can't ride a bike. You're not allowed to smoke, or anything. And I'm standing in my waiting position on my bike smoking, with my phone. In that suit – he said. "And the mother crosses the street and is like (seething voice):" Where does he come from? … I'll call his mother.
“I even waved to friends; they didn't wave back from afar. "
“Wolkenbruchs Wunderliche Reise in Die Arme einer Schickse”, the film formerly known as “Wolkenbruch's Wonderful Journey in the Arms of a Shiksa” and now called “Motti Wolkenbruch's Awakening”, is a glimpse of rom with a world rarely seen in tela – an orthodox Jewish community in Switzerland. It is also the country's official entry for this year's best international film, Oscar. Basman, who won the Swiss Film Award for his lead role, director Michael Steiner and Inge Maux, who plays Motti's. mom, joined the Los Angeles Times Michael Ordoña for a Q&A session at the Envelope Live Screening Series recently in Montalbán, Hollywood.
Three-time Swiss Film Award nomineeMy name is EugenSteiner is not a Jew, but has known the author of the novel and screenplay, Thomas Meyer, for over 20 years. Despite the details of the book and the movie, such as a contemporary style of glasses that causes sturm und drang In a decidedly traditional family, Steiner says Meyer didn't grow up religious.
"He was saying he wasn't connected with his mother, his Jewish mother," Steiner said, then added, laughing at his friend, "So when the movie came out … suddenly everything was connected to him."
The community was not entirely foreign to the filmmaker, however.
“In fact, I lived in the area over 10 years ago and above me was an Orthodox Jewish family. And sometimes the little kids would turn off the electricity on Friday night, ”Steiner said. “So they knocked on my door, needed someone to put back the electricity. They called me 'Shabbos goy'. I didn't know they had a word for me, but then I found out that they had a word and had a function. That was my first view of their world.
Director Michael Schneider and star Joel Basman talk about the Orthodox Jewish community of Zurich.
Basman is Jewish, but, like Meyer, was not raised religiously. He and Steiner credited one of Basman's friends in the community for checking their accuracy in detail, such as correcting when books were turned in the wrong direction on the device's shelves.
“He helped me a lot because he spoke Yiddish perfectly. I do not. I speak Hebrew, but Yiddish is something else, ”said Basman. "All these little things … I asked him, 'Give me the evening prayer' and he sent it to WhatsApp."
Working with Yiddish was a welcome challenge for filmmakers, although they tried to reduce the degree of difficulty where they could.
Director Michael Schneider enjoyed the challenge of using Yiddish, but also reduced the dialogue where he could.
“Basically, we reduced Yiddish to, like, 500 words. Then we put in the right grammar, ”said Steiner. “It was a very beautiful thing to work in this language, because that language is not always heard. It is very related to Swiss German, but the grammar is completely different. It was hard to do, but it was also a lot of fun to practice these lines in the correct Yiddish. As soon as the movie was released, the first screening it had in the US, I think it was in Chicago, I heard that people who speak Yiddish really understand. "
For the lead role of Motti Wolkenbruch's mother, or Mom, the film won the Austrian actress Inge Maux, who this year won the Austrian Film Award and German Screen Actor for "Murer: Anatomie einese Prozesses". Maux said the role came naturally to her.
Inge Maux of the Swiss Oscar "The Awakening of Motte Wolkenbruch" says she has a Yiddish soul.
“My soul and my heart are Yiddish. My mother and grandmother hid me and were frightened when I sang Jewish songs. (The filmmakers) gave me a Yiddish life and a family gift. Because in reality I only have two Chihuahuas and I have no children, ”she said, laughing. "So my heart is completely turned to this guy," she said, extending her hand to Basman, "this wonderful actor."
"My heart is with you!" Basman answered, taking his hand.
"From the first moment, he makes me cry, and the tenderness and all the maternal feelings I've never had – except my dogs," she said as the audience roared. “Really, everywhere is really the greatest gift of my life. Indeed. Thanks."
Steiner reached out to hug her, and she came back with a kiss on his cheek.
To see more Envelope Live videos, visit latimes.com/envelope