In Bosnia-Herzegovina, Indira dreams of elsewhere. In France, Mehdina strives to find her place. Whilst the adults seem to be fighting windmills, the kids grow up in a world of their own with ten-year-old Hasan blissfully wandering on the path of Armstrong and travelling into space. As we follow Indira and Mehdina during one winter season, images of the past confront those of the present and the tale of two sisters slowly unfolds.
Pieces of the puzzle come together to unveil an investigation of the human condition and reveal a universal story about family ties, about growing up and finding your place in the world.
SCREENINGS & AWARDS
2019 World and International Premiere: Sheffield Doc/Fest – Doc/Love section
2019 Sarajevo Film Festival – BH Film Section
2019 Yamagata International Documentary Film Festival – International Competition (Asian Premiere)
2019 Cork Film Festival – International Competition
2019 International Film Festival Prvi Kadar / First Frame – Sarajevo (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
2019 DOKfest Belgrade, Serbia
2019 MyArt Film Festival (Italian premiere)
Review for Aesthetica Magazine Beth Webb
DIRECTOR’S BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY
Claudia Marschal lives and works in Paris.
After obtaining a Masters degree in documentary filmmaking, she develops her first project « the other side », produced by French production company Crescendo films and France Televisions in 2010. The film was shot in Texas. In 2012, she completes « i am Kombi », also produced by Crescendo films and France Televisions. The film was shot in California, the Republic of the Congo and throughout Europe. In 2015, she directs a collection of five short films entitled « Who wants to eat super heroes? », composed of archive footage and animation. The collection, produced by French production company Un film à la patte and the French-German cultural TV channel ARTE, is destined to a pre-teen audience. “In our paradise”, her first feature-length film, was produced by Idéale Audience, Vosges TV and Le Fresnoy in 2017.
2019 “In our paradise” – 76 minutes, directed by Claudia Marschal, written by Claudia Marschal and Ian Simpson, produced by IDEALE AUDIENCE, Le Fresnoy and Vosges TV
2015 “Who wants to eat super heroes?” – 5 x 26-minute films directed by Claudia Marschal, written by Claudia Marschal and Ian Simpson, produced by UN FILM A LA PATTE and ARTE
2012 I am Kombi – 52-minute documentary film directed by Claudia Marschal, written by Claudia Marschal and Ian Simpson, produced by CRESCENDO FILMS and France Television
2010 The other side – 52-minute documentary film written and directed by Claudia Marschal, produced by CRESCENDO FILMS and France Television
In our paradise, it’s so beautiful.
If you only knew
what great joy awaits us.
Willows and their comforting shade.
All the good things we need.
If you only knew
how bountiful is our meals.
Come sit and eat
as much as your stomach can bear.
In our paradise,
all our children meet.
They boast whilst they drink
to each other’s health.
The others are outside.
Shivering with cold
Our paradise is so big
that three rivers flow through it.
Their banks all composed of cakes.
In one river,
the sweetest white milk flows.
Another river is filled with honey.
The third with the finest cream.
Heed well my brother,
heed well my sister.
Hear what I tell you.
In that heavenly country above,
in our paradise,
you need not fast at all.
We shall eat and drink.
And never starve.
PRODUCER’S BIOGRAPHY & FILMOGRAPHY
Idéale Audience was founded in 1990 by Pierre-Olivier Bardet and Hélène Le Cœur.
The company has notably produced the works of Johan van der Keuken, Frederick Wiseman, Alexandre Sokourov, Frédéric, Mitterrand, Bruno Monsaingeon, Benoît Jacquot, Gérald Caillat, Daniel Rosenfeld, Silvina Landsmann and Wang Bing.
Idéale Audience also supports many first feature films of upcoming directors. Being music lovers, Idéale Audience have collaborated with some of the finest artists in the classical music world: Yehudi Menuhin, Sviatoslav Richter, Dietrich Fischer Dieskau, Martha Argerich, Stephen Kovacevitch, Piotr Anderszewski, Mathias Goerne, and Grigory Sokolov.
International co-production is an integral part of the company’s production policy. Producers from all around the world have been associated with numerous films produced by Idéale Audience, whose catalogue includes over 200 films, all distributed internationally by loyal partner-distributors. Established in Paris for nearly 25 years now, the Idéale Audience team continues to serve original, bold and daring films, authors and artists.
written by Claudia Marschal and Ian Simpson
directed by Claudia Marschal
edited by Marie Da Costa and Julie Dupré
image Claudia Marschal
sound Xavier Griette, Grégory Pernet, Nicolas Rhode
sound editing and audio mix Olivier Goinard
colour grading Alexandra Pocquet
music composed and interpreted by Matthew Bourne
produced by Pierre-Olivier Bardet
an Idéale Audience production
in coproduction with Vosges Télévision
and Le Fresnoy, Studio national des arts contemporains
with the participation of Fonds Images de la Diversité –
CommissarIat général à l’égalité des territoires,
Centre national du cinéma et de l’image animée
with the support of Strasbourg Eurométropole,
la Région Grand Est, with the CNC
and l’Agence culturelle Grand Est
“In our paradise” began in 2003 when I first met Mehdina. She, her husband and in-laws had recently obtained refugee status and were temporarily sheltered in an old synagogue opposite my grandmother’s house, in a somewhat unadventurous village in the east of France. Convinced there was a story to be told, I decided to follow an unwavering intuition that guided me through this mercurial but privileged endeavour of making a film. I started filming Mehdina and her young family pretty soon after our encounter – not knowing at the time what the film would be.
On both sides there was a respected curiosity, from which a delicate trust slowly emerged. It had to take time to avoid a clichéd account of a culture whose way of life is far too often misconstrued. In fact this time served an already evolving narrative and in 2013, when I followed Mehdina to Bosnia-Herzegovina and met her sister Indira, the whole story finally came to light.
A film about two women fighting for a place for their children in an ever-increasing hostile world.
The stories of these two sisters are naturally intertwined. With Indira, we see her daily life in a Roma district in northern Bosnia-Herzegovina, where a marginalised minority struggles to make ends meet. Like the majority of her generation, she dreams of elsewhere. Mehdina’s life in France illustrates the everyday experience of exile. The difficulties, the achievements and the obstacles one faces with this reality. Yet on the other side of Europe, Mehdina’s life is perceived as a happy success and a source of inspiration for Indira, who is relentless in her mission to leave her native village, despite repeated and failed departures.
Meeting Indira gave me a better understanding of who Mehdina was. Furthermore I had uncovered an indisputable conflict between the two sisters. Conflict between the one who has supposedly “made it” and the one who is trying to “make it”. This conflict presented an interesting dramaturgic perspective. The pressure on the one detached from family and origins, to support those that have stayed breeds a number of undesirable emotions between two sisters who are seen gradually growing apart: jealousy, bitterness, shame, guilt… yet it is the unyielding amount of love that they share that enables heartfelt communication.
I hope that the spectator feels something in watching this film – freeing oneself from common rhetoric and false beliefs that are being distributed at a disturbingly frequent rate and also realising that whilst the utopia of a borderless world seems to have lost its aura, the future generation looks beyond the stars in search of new frontiers.