by Redazione Ennesimo Film Festival
Here we are with another winner interview! We had a nice conversation with Lewis Rose ENNESIMO PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD.
During an interview, you talked about how comedy can become the means through which bringing different cultures together in a light-hearted, yet effective way. How do you manage to find the perfect balance between making fun of stereotypes and debunking them without indulging in rhetoric?
My intention, when writing to film, was first and foremost not to offend anyone! I think if you go into it with the right motivation, that will show in the final product. It’s a fine balance because you don’t want to be too safe, otherwise it will become boring and cheesy. I think the reason we could avoid it was because we weren’t really making an ‘ethnic’ comedy – a film that is in-jokes for people from the two religions. It’s basically a fish out of water story about someone in an alien culture (which is actually very similar to his own culture), and hopefully most people can relate to that.
While being interviewed about The Chop, you joked about the possibility of creating a sequel and even a series out of it. Is there any chance for us to actually get to see more about Yossi and his newly-open business?
Yes we are currently developing a series version of the film – we’re in the early stages but if it happens it will be a lot of fun. Plenty more crossed wires and flying meat!
We know that Amir Boutrous, who portrays Yossi on screen, worked as a kosher butcher when he first moved to England. Is it actually him cutting the meat at lightning speed and juggling with knives and cleavers?
Actually he wasn’t a butcher, he was a barman! That’s how he learnt all the throwing tricks. He does have a very interesting story though. He speaks both Hebrew and Arabic and attended Jewish schools whilst growing up. When he moved to the UK, he worked in various Jewish restaurants and bars in North London where, being a Hebrew speaker, everyone assumed he was Jewish. We couldn’t believe our luck when we heard his story – who could be more more perfect to play the character of Yossi, a knife-juggling Jewish charmer who pretends to be Muslim. Amir had already lived Yossi’s story in reverse. It had to be fate!
In The Chop, you describe both intercultural and intergenerational relationships. Having always lived in multi-ethnic environments, what’s the main difference you notice in the different generations’ approaches to new cultures and religions?
I think the younger generation are definitely more exposed to other cultures, with the internet, swelling populations etc. This doesn’t always translate into understanding, but hopefully it helps. I suppose the big difference with the older generations is less mixing with other communities. The older generations were often newer immigrants and so tended to stick with their own a lot more, whereas changing neighbourhoods and new forms of media exposure has led younger people to look outside their community more frequently. This can be a double-edged sword, as it’s important to preserve those cultural traditions, but it’s inevitable that in big cities groups will meet and merge (and it’s a good thing!). That is basically what The Chop is about.
LEWIS ROSE THANKS ENNESIMO FILM FESTIVAL POPULAR JURY FOR CHOOSING HIS MOVIE “THE CHOP” AS ENNESIMO PEOPLE’S CHOICE AWARD 2017