Sunday, November 29, 2009

Fez Hip Hop - breaking the clichés

Over the last few days a German film crew has been filming in the Medina of Fez. The View from Fez decided to track them down and find out what they were up to. The company is Schwenk Film from Stuttgart and the director is Hannes Schuler. When we caught up with him at Cafe Clock, he was filming the popular Fez Hip Hop band, Fassa. After the performance we sat down with Hannes Schuler for a chat.

Hannes Schuler

TVFF: What is the programme you are making?

HANNES: This is a German four part TV programme about Islam. It is not a political programme, but rather we want to tell stories from Muslim people. Let them tell their own stories so that people can begin to understand Muslim culture.

Fassa of Fez

TVFF: So who are you filming and interviewing?

HANNES: We are meeting everyone from Imams to hip hop musicians. We witnessed circumcision in Turkey, Ramadan in Cairo and now we are in Fez to witness the Eid festivities. We planned to film in eight countries - Egypt, Turkey, Spain, Morocco, Iran, Saudi Arabia, Indonesia and Pakistan. Unfortunately the situation in Pakistan will not allow us to go there.

TVFF: And the style, the tone, of the production?

HANNES: We want to surprise the viewers with the little stories that illustrate answers to questions that non-Muslim viewers ask themselves; what do they think? What is it about? What is the situation with wearing the veil? We don't want to comment but let the people give the answers. So the working title is "The Profiles of Islam", which is not a very sexy title but we do try to show different views, different angles, different interpretations of Islam.

"Breaking the clichés"

TVFF: And Hip Hop?

HANNES (Laughing): The idea is to break the clichés. We will be shooting a lot in the Medina during the Eid festival - we were in the market to buy the sheep and we will be there when they cut their throats. In other words, we will have all the traditional shots. But we want to break the cliché. So, in the middle of the film when you think you are in the middle ages you will suddenly see and hear Hip Hop music on the rooftops.

The crowd getting into the music

Hannes Schuler tells us that the film will be completed early next year and its first appearance will be on the joint French/German cultural station Arte in June.


tabby said...

Yippie Kai Yaaa!

Anonymous said...

Which or whose cliches you are refering to,and when did a band of hip hop began to represent any profile about Islam?.We dont call them cliches here, we call them solid foundations,and the "veil" is one of them.Hip-hop bands do not have any bearing in the Islamic doctrine,they certainly dont represent me and millions of my likes.Perhaps you could provide us with a "sexy" title about Islam!!Are you sure you're aware of your context?

Salah said...

I look forward to the film. Thank you for your work. Many cliches are told about us. May you have sucess Mr Hannes

Anonymous said...

I congratulate you for trying. "The idea is to break the clichés" - I wish you luck, but everyday the Western media write and show so many clichés. Maybe your films will help. But it takes a lot more than a series of films to change the false notions about Islam. Maybe you could call your series Islam; Towards Understanding. I do pray it helps.

Anonymous said...

Fassa rocks! Hip Hop rocks! Go the brothers! You speak for me.

Ashanak Arabi said...

Islam and modernity is a very important thing to contemplate for many of our brothers and sisters are lost in the past and do not see the possibility of modernity. I do not like Hip Hop but I am grateful they are doing something to show our moderate modern face.

Helen Ranger said...

Anonymous (the fourth comment) misses the point. The cliches are those that abound in the Western press about Islam (eg, all Muslim women are repressed, all Muslims are terrorists, etc), as Salah says. If this films makes a few people think beyond these cliches, it will have done its job.
And 'sexy' in this context means attractive, in that the filmmaker wants an attractive title for the film to encourage people to watch it.

Driss said...

Thank you sister Helen. We have many who can think positive thoughts but sadly some think only to criticise others. We should forgive them.

You are right about the clichés and it makes me sad to see such things. A film from the heart of a good man will help many to understand that Islam is the religion of peace and tolerance.

Aïwa said...

Can someone give me a list of local hip hop bands please? I only know the Palestinian and Lebanese ones and would love to hear rap or hip hop in darija.

Helen Ranger said...

If you're in Fez, try Cafe Clock, where they have various concerts, especially on Sundays at 6pm

Anonymous said...

Very good story. Thank you and keep up the great work. My whole family here in 'kesh reads you every day.

Anonymous said...

Fab post. Merci.