When the established documentary filmmaker Yariv Mozer decided to direct a feature film, he didn’t want it to be just any old story. And so, Mozer chose the unusual gay themed tale Snails in the Rain from a selection of short stories.
“I was moved by the story,” recalls Yariv Mozer. “It was very unusual to find gay literature in Tel Aviv. In fact, in some places it is still very much controversial.”
Snails in the Rain is a short glimpse into the life of Boaz, a student at the University of Tel Aviv in the late 1980’s. Set in a time when homosexuality is very much a taboo, Boaz is conflicted when he begins receiving anonymous love letters from a mysterious man.
“The letters disturb his perfect relationship with his girlfriend,” says Mozer. “It’s controversial, and it was like this in Tel Aviv. I wanted to portray what is going on in a person who doesn’t want to talk about it.”
Mozer also selected this setting because it was a time before instant celebrity and the 24-hour social media culture that we experience today. Love letters replace the modern day texts and emails, offering a more intimate communicative experience. “Where are the words and mystery anymore?” the director asks. “We know everything about everyone now.”
Film geeks will rejoice at watching Snails in the Rain, with its excellent use of depth of field, intimate shot choices, and soft colors. Citing Tom Ford’s A Single Man as inspiration, Yariv Mozer and cinematographer Shahar Reznik opted to stick with a documentary-style favorite and shoot with the Sony F3, an older camera known for its Super 35 sensor and excellent delivery of highlights and aliasing. Or, in layman’s terms: Mozer and Reznik achieved lovely use of light and color in a completely authentic, yet vintage-style picture.
However, a good film is not without its challenges. Snails in the Rain was the first time director Yariv Mozer had the task of directing other actors. In order to better understand and master this challenge, Mozer decided to act in the film himself, taking on the role of Professor Richlin. Mozer studied under esteemed acting coach Ruth Dytches in preparation for this role.
“I wanted to improve before I attempted to direct others,” states Yariv Mozer. The director goes on to explain, “I chose [Prof. Richlin] because his story is more like my own. I felt more like him, and could identify with him.”
Yariv Mozer intends to follow Snails in the Rain with another story close to home, this time about his Jewish heritage (Mozer is a 3rd generation Holocaust survivor). With the script now complete, Mozer now looks forward as he plans out production for a Jewish comedy about a family retracing their roots back to Poland. Deep roots to follow, but this documentary-turned-feature filmmaker knows where to find the story.
All pictures reproduced courtesy of Tla Releasing