Gitta Gsell • Réalisatrice de Beyto
“Nous avons chorégraphié la scène de manière à ce que les mouvements deviennent comme une danse”
par Muriel Del Don
- Nous avons interrogé la réalisatrice suisse sur son film, dont le personnage central est un jeune homme déchiré entre sa famille et ses désirs
Cet article est disponible en anglais.
We chatted to Swiss director Gitta Gsell about her touching film Beyto [+lire aussi :
interview : Gitta Gsell
fiche film], which was selected at the Berlinale European Film Market (EFM). After its Première at the Zurich Film Festival, Beyto traveled to Solothurn where he won the Public award. Dimitri Stapfer, who plays the role of Mike in the movie, has caught the eyes of the Prix du cinema Suisse committee who nominated him in the category Best performance in a supporting role.
Cineuropa: Why did you choose to talk about a male homosexual relationship in the frame of a family of Turkish immigrants living in Switzerland? Are you close to the LGBTQI+ (Middle Eastern) community?
Gitta Gsell: The story is based on the novel of a friend of mine: Yusuf Yesilöz. The title is “Hochzeitsflug,” and the story was published in 2011 (Limmatverlag). When I read this novel, I felt right away that this was a story for a film. At that time, I was giving workshops for young adults and was confronted with the discriminating slang in their language and also with the problems of young people with migrant backgrounds in Switzerland. Homosexuality is always a big theme in patriarchal cultures. And since this family comes from a small Turkish village, they try to continue their traditional lives and still dream of the mountains in Anatolia. They refuse to accept a modern and free-spirited lifestyle and they struggle to integrate in a liberal world. Beyto, the son of this family, is torn between family ties at home and freedom in the western world.
And to answer your second question: of course, I am close with all my friends with all their different preferences in love and lifestyles. I myself am female and heterosexual. Regarding the Middle East, I lived in Cairo for about a year. But basically, I am against oppression and for human rights.
Why did you choose Burak Ates as Beyto? Where did you cast him?
I was looking for an actor who speaks Swissgerman and Turkish. In the age range from 18 to 25 years old, we do not have professional actors with this background in Switzerland. We therefore made an open call over social media and schools, etc. I casted about 40 young athletic men with Turkish backgrounds. Half of them declined as soon as they heard that they would have to play a young homosexual in the film. Their reason was usually that their parents would not allow it or would be very disappointed if they did it. Some of them had religious reasons. But out of the other half, I was able, with a long casting process, to find Burak Ates. His parents were not happy about the whole thing, but he still did it. It was his chance to become an actor. And he did a wonderful job. We did a lot of rehearsals before the shoot in order to give him security and to find the tone of his role.
How did you get such intense, spontaneous and strong intimacy between the two main actors? How did you work with them?
It is always a challenge to film intimate scenes. And it is especially difficult for an amateur. It takes a lot of time and preparations so that the actors feel secure and comfortable. Dimitri Stapfer, who plays Mike, was a great help. We worked step by step: which movements and contacts feels comfortable, where are the boundaries? What do they like about each other and how can it be integrated? We choreographed the scene so that the movements became like a dance. And that’s how they were able to have fun with it and never had to be afraid that unexpected contacts or uncomfortable touches would disturb the intimacy.
As a filmmaker, how are you dealing with these troubled times?
Our film was playing in the cinemas when they shut everything down. So we constantly had to reschedule. Beyto played at the Solothurner Filmfest where we won the public award — everything happened online, which for a filmmaker is difficult, because we do not have the direct contact and reaction of the public.
But as a filmmaker, I have to be flexible. Our research trip to Buenos Aires has been postponed for months and we do not know when we’ll be able to go. But things like that happen in filmmaking even when there is no pandemic. So I take this time to write and invest these quiet times into research on the internet. But basically, I am very grateful that I am able to work and enjoy the freedom we still have. I live in a country where we actually don’t have that much to complain about, where most of the people have enough to eat and a roof over their head. And I guess it is important to integrate experiences like the one we’re having right now into our work, somehow. It is a worldwide experience that affects everybody, so everybody can comprehend what’s going on.
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