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Maria Solrun Sigurdardottir, Birgit Gudjonsdottir

Production Report featured in
German Films Quarterly 02/2003

Icelandic-born Maria Solrun Sigurdardottir is making her feature directorial debut with the melodrama Jargo which is set to go before the camera in Berlin in May.

“It is about love and treachery,” says Sigurdardottir, who sees herself in the tradition of the magic realism of Icelandic literature and cinema and observes that “comedy in tragedy is something I take for granted. It isn’t anything that I have picked up from other directors. It’s my view of life.”

Jargo centers on a young German “outsider” of the same name who has grown up in Saudi Arabia and comes to Berlin with his mother after his father’s suicide. Here he gets to know the petty criminal Kamil, a young Turkish boy who has grown up in Germany, and is constantly hounded by the ghost of his father reminding him of his promise “to become a man” before he turns sixteen.

“Both of these boys are a scurrilous mixture of the Oriental macho and something very German,” Sigurdardottir explains, “there is a very special mixture of different cultures here.”

And adds that she chose Arabia for Jargo’s origins “rather than Iceland because the matriarch is so strong in my homeland. I am fascinated though by people who come from a society ruled by a patriarch.”

While Sigurdardottir has had many screenplays turned into TV movies by German production companies since finishing at the Screenplay Academy in Berlin, Jargo is in fact her graduation project from the academy.

Casting was still underway early this year to find the right teenage actors for the main roles of Jargo, Kamil and the two female characters Mona and Emilia. “I’m not necessarily looking for non-actors for these parts,” the director says, adding that she is “quite keen to find that uncouth look.”

Meanwhile, the job of cinematographer has been taken by fellow Icelander Birgit Gudjonsdottir, who is based in Vienna and has worked in the past on such productions as the TV series Kommisar Rex, Urs Eggers’ Epstein's Night (Epsteins Nacht, 2002), Goldeneye and IThe Four Musketeers.

Genre Drama, Coming-of-Age Story
Category Feature
Year of Production 2003
Director Maria Solrun Sigurdardottir
Screenplay Maria Solrun Sigurdardottir
Cinematography Birgit Gudjonsdottir
Nicole Heidel
Producers Frank Loeprich, Katrin Schlösser
Production Company öFilm/Berlin, in co-production with X Filme Creative Pool, in cooperation with WDR, ORB/Potsdam
Format 16 mm
Shooting Dates Berlin, May - June 2003
Festivals Berlin 2004 (Kinderfilmfest/14plus)

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Frank Loeprich, Katrin Schloesser
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