As a Swede, what's been your personal relationship or connection to the Israel-Palestine conflict?
It's been a part of my life since I was born, because I'm Jewish. So it's no different if you come from the States or if you come from Sweden. [But] in Sweden, you really are a minority. You can't compare it to Israel, but when I'm here [in the States] people know what Shabbat is and they know what kosher is. They have a feeling what it's about. But in Sweden, nobody knows anything. And it really makes you see that you're outside—you're a minority. Not an outsider, because you're really part of the society still, but nobody knows. So Israel and Palestine—it's always been discussed in my family . . . so it's very personal.
For you, were there political dimensions to your interest in the project, in addition to your personal ones?
When it comes to Jasmin and Osama, I really wanted to find a couple that wasn't ... involved in any political movement. I wanted to find ... ordinary people. Because I wanted to talk from a very personal level. But of course, they encountered different political obstacles—he can't move to Israel, and she can't stay in Palestine. ... But I thought it would be much, much more powerful for us to meet them on a personal level. Because also I think with film, and especially documentaries, you talk to your audience on an intellectual level. You describe a lot of things, and a lot of facts. And I feel that I want to be closer to a narrative way of telling a story, because I think with film as an art form you should talk on an emotional level, and not on an intellectual level so much.
How did you come into contact with your subjects, Osama and Jasmin?
I had filmed two other couples before meeting with Osama and Jasmin, and they didn't want to continue filming because they had been threatened. One couple had been threatened—I mean, actual threats—and the other couple, they were just afraid. And I had filmed them for some time. It was very difficult when they said that they couldn't participate anymore.
But then I had read an article about Osama and Jasmin in Ha'aretz. And the woman from one of the other couple had been in contact with Jasmin's father, so she had the phone number. And I called him and they just said yes from the start, when I called them and explained what I wanted to do.
There are a lot of languages spoken in the film. In an IndieWire piece, you wrote, "The fact that my Hebrew is extremely poor, and that I speak no Arabic, was a challenge. I decided not to use an interpreter." What went into that decision?
My aim was to get closer to the fictional way of making a film, because ... I think sometimes you can ruin your story by only making interviews, because then you think more than you feel. And I think you should do both, of course.