Hamy Ramezan • Regista di Any Day Now
“Vivere la guerra non ti rende meno bambino. Quando arrivai in Finlandia, i miei coetanei bevevano; io giocavo a Nintendo"
di Marta Bałaga
- BERLINALE 2021: Puoi fare qualsiasi cosa, a quanto pare, nel film del regista finlandese-iraniano selezionato in Generation. Ma non metterti mai contro la famiglia
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The Mehdipour family is a loving one, and Ramin (Aran-Sina Keshvari) is reminded of this every day, gently getting woken up by his mother. But it's also a family that waits, every day, for a letter that might grant them asylum in Finland. In the meantime, all they have is each other. We talked to Finnish-Iranian director Hamy Ramezan about his Berlinale Generation entry Any Day Now [+leggi anche:
intervista: Hamy Ramezan
Cineuropa: You have previously mentioned a desire to focus more on the family here than the so-called “refugee story”. But you also pay a lot of attention to the kids.
Hamy Ramezan: I always use children in my films, but I never consider them to be children's movies. I had to fight for it a little and convince some people that Ramin is not the protagonist. That letter at the beginning, it's for everyone – not just for the parents. That's why he throws up, as these kids, they aren't just fooling around. It's an exciting time for them: they go to school, but I wanted to give myself permission to follow the people who deserve it, when they deserve it.
It's a hard one – you are trying to talk about being a refugee or an asylum seeker, but this theme is so huge! It's like saying you are making a film about alcoholism. I wanted to break certain expectations that come with it, to show it's about family, humanity, that they are kind of living this normal life. Being refugees is not their identity. That meant I had to take risks and figure out how much of Ramin I could show so as not to confuse people. I know it's a very naive film, but in a good way – that was the only chance I had to tackle it all.
We always assume kids don't realise what is going on, but they do, don't you think? Also because with these people, all it takes to communicate is one look! They are so close.
In Iran, it's all about that look [laughs]. I remember my parents giving me “the look”. When my family was running away, I was very aware of it all [having fled persecution in Iran, Ramezan stayed in Yugoslav refugee camps before arriving in Finland]. My parents told me that we were going to be killed if we failed, so we had to buckle up! And I did. When the mother [played by Shabnam Ghorbani] cries in the film, it's not just about being granted asylum or not – she cries, wondering what's so horrible about them that they can't be accepted. I show these morning routines that they have, and you wonder: “Is this the only weapon they have?” But as a family, they are never defeated. They can win with this tenderness. I told my cinematographer that it's not our film – it belongs to the Mehdipours. It's their self-portrait; we are just filming it.
Ramin seems so happy in this new environment. Nobody makes him feel like an outsider, which is quite unusual for stories like these, isn’t it?
Everyone has had an awful childhood, in one way or another. Everyone has been bullied, in one way or another. Or not – and in this film, he just isn't. When choosing the girl that he falls in love with, I thought: “You will never, ever, ever get that girl.” Not just because of her looks, but was he even in that school? Is he really there? It's getting a little philosophical now, but he is a smart kid – he knows they might be deported, and he knows there are things he might lose. Still, experiencing war doesn't make you less of a child. When I came to Finland, people my age were already drinking; I was playing Nintendo.
I just wanted to see this world the way the Mehdipours saw it, from the inside. Now, we all have these masks on, and it's going to get even worse, so we’d better start getting used to how the world is changing. The only way to survive is to realise that we are “the giants”, too – we can't leave it all to the politicians. There are so many good people out there, and I just hate the fact that we don't see it in the news. With my family, we ended up in Finland thanks to some very normal people. I am happy that I can show that now, as a filmmaker.
You show Finland as some kind of promised land, just gorgeous and lush, but in actual fact, it's cold all the time.
With all due respect, I thought that Finland was really, really ugly. And how the fuck was I going to make this film so that it looked different, somehow? We created our own world, and everything had a meaning. I wanted to show them surrounded by the river that just goes on and on – it could lead anywhere. Or this beautiful forest, because humans try to be as perfect as nature, and then they end up ruining it all, building a jail for refugees in such an amazing place, for example. The whole refugee crisis has to do with climate change, really. This is just the beginning.
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