A mousetrap snaps shut. A dusty town square awakens. A group of men debates how to kill the animal in the little box – each trying to outdo the others’ increasingly sadistic fantasies. Until a stranger suggests letting the creature loose. A voice of reason? Or the sickest manipulator of them all?
The multi-award-winning diploma project Fuse lets the audience slip into the role of a trapped mouse that seems at the mercy of the will of an overwhelming majority. Director Shadi Adib, born in Tehran, creates an impressive metaphor about the incredible powerlessness of minorities in unjust systems.
Read on and find out why Fuse has turned into her personal cultural research project.
Director Shadi Adib on Fuse:
"My impression is that people write books, compose music or make films because they are looking for a new perspective. They try to make sense of what they have experienced. This curiosity, this desire for understanding is often so great that they want to share their new perspective with others. Because maybe others in the community are feeling the same way.
In my film, I wanted to express the feelings of a minority that perceives the attitude of the majority as unfair. A minority that is confronted with manipulative rulers. The feeling of powerlessness when "Democracy has gone wrong", when individuals set the rules for others through skillful manipulation, and when one sees oneself no longer represented. Then it seems as if everyone else blindly follows the rulers because they get a feeling of happiness, security and strength in return. The people in power seem to have hit a nerve with their behavior and you yourself find yourself with a different perspective.
The impulse to create Fuse was, however, ultimately much smaller and more personal for me. When I started drawing many years ago, my first concern was how to draw at all. Only little by little did it become more important to me what I am actually drawing. So Fuse started as something like my cultural research project.
The story itself is an adaptation of the Iranian short story author Sādeq Tschubak. At the beginning, I had imagined the audience in a dark cinema hall feeling like a mouse in a mousetrap. What is going on inside us as a mouse when there are no more alternatives, except accepting the fate that our masters dictate us?
When I left home and left Iran, I naturally expected that my life would be quite difficult. For me, however, this effort was more desirable than accepting the future which was exemplified to me by the Iranian society. Not everyone who wishes for such a thing succeeds and escapes their apparent destiny. Those constellations do not only exist in my home country. I think that the mouse in Fuse shares its fate with many individuals and groups. Any minority that has to oppose the majority because it feels unrepresented kind of feels the same.
Arriving in Germany, I had all the experiences I expected - but far more intense than I could have ever imagined. As an immigrant, some people perceive me as very exotic (positive), but others see me as a foreign body. That is not wrong. Because rapprochement is always a process. I myself felt like a foreign body at first. The young Iranian migrant and student from back then has now become a wife and working mother. Besides all the good encounters, I also encounter prejudice and discrimination. It is sometimes difficult for us to keep in mind the process and change in all the people we meet daily - especially when we are tired and overwhelmed.
In my home country, I had decided that I wanted to realize this pictorial story of the mouse. But there I would never have been able to realize it. However, in another country - in my case in Germany - it worked out. The production location had a strong influence on the development process and made the film, coming from its Iranian origin, a project from Ludwigsburg. That is why I call Fuse more and more my own personal cultural research project. A cultural research project that is not yet completed. Working on the film helped me to create the foundation for a life in Germany. Now I am fully occupied with growing from an ambitious girl to Mommy Shadi."