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"We learned about this religion during the shooting", the German director Jurijs Saule speaks of his debut Martin Reads the Quran

The director Jurijs Saule and the producer Diana Mora presented the German film Martin Reads the Quran participating in the Main Competition of 46th Moscow International Film Festival.

In the film, Martin visits an Islamic Studies professor to ask him to reason him out of committing a crime. He only needs to answer a few simple questions. Will the professor manage to prevent the crime just holding the sacred Quran in his hands? Is there salvation in knowledge without faith?

Jurijs Saule: "There was an influx of Muslims in Germany in 2015-2016 and politicians started talking of whether Quran is good or bad. We discussed that with a friend, and he was like: "Well, what about Quran itself, everything is written there in plain text", and we decided to develop this idea. We didn’t know anything about Quran and learned about this religion right during the shooting. We had consultants from the Islamic University in Berlin and the main part actor was a believing Muslim, he also changed some of the text lines, by the way. It took us more than seven years to make the film. And we spent a lot of time on preparation. This is my first film, so 95 per cent of the scenes included in the final cut were storyboarded beforehand. We also focused much on rehearsals with actors, which I really appreciate. Ulrich Tukur is a celebrity in Germany, and it was very hard to find slots for such rehearsals in his tight schedule, but he made room for us. And Zejhun Demirov came to Berlin without his family just for this project and lived there alone for two months going out almost only for rehearsals to work out all dialogues, which play a crucial role in this film".

Diana Mora: "We are greatly honoured to present this film at Moscow Film Festival, as it will help us define what will further happen to it. The shooting process was hard, this is a debut film but with a highly professional team. So, we want this film to be watched by as many spectators as possible".