Archive of films Before Snowfall / Før snøen faller

Norway / Germany / Iraq
2013, 101 min

Section: Focus on Kurdish Film
Year: 2013

A road movie focusing on the conflict between honor and conscience. A young man from Iraqi Kurdistan sets out on a wretched trip abroad to kill his sister after she sullies the family honor by fleeing from an arranged marriage. He is not alone on his journey, but Kurdish solidarity involves certain rules that cannot be broken.


An emotive, psychological road movie about the traditional conflicts between the individual and society, between honor and conscience. As the only man in his family, teenager Siyar must take on the responsibility of his elder sister Nermin’s wedding. But when the young woman takes off to Istanbul with her beloved – who is not, however, her arranged husband – the boy must undergo a thankless journey across the border in order to murder his sister, as tradition dictates, for honor’s sake. During his illegal journey he meets Kurds all across Europe whose help and support he can rely on; such solidarity brings a degree of safety but it also carries moral obligations that may not be violated with impunity. How difficult it is to be a man concentrating on a task in a freezing foreign land! To make matters worse, he falls in love for the first time, and he often dreams of his happy childhood in the apple orchards of Kurdistan. Behold the internal maturation of a young man who, with the growing strength of his soul’s capacity for feeling and compassion, tragically distances himself from the remorseless moral norms of his community.

About the director

Hisham Zaman (b. 1975, Iraqi Kurdistan) graduated in 2004 from the Norwegian Film School in Lillehammer. He and his schoolmates shot the short The Bridge (Broen, 2003) and he graduated with The Roof (2004). His overriding theme is the fate of Kurdish refugees in Western Europe. He regularly teams up with crime novelist Kjell Ola Dahl to write his scripts. The director’s greatest festival and critical success to date came with the short film Daddy (Bawke, 2005), which is being presented as part of our retrospective. After the medium-length love story Winterland (Vinterland, 2007) he made the short film The Other Ones (De andre, 2009), followed by the feature Before Snowfall. He is currently finishing up work on the long-awaited Norwegian-German coproduction A Letter to the King (Brev til kongen).


Norwegian Film Institute
Box 482 Sentrum, 0105, Oslo
Tel: +47 224 745 00
Fax: +47 224 745 97
E-mail: [email protected]

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Focus on Kurdish Film
Director: Hisham Zaman
Screenplay: Kjell Ola Dahl, Hisham Zaman
Dir. of Photography: Mariusz Matzow Gulbrandsen
Music: David Reyes
Editor: Arild Tryggestad
Production: Paradox Film AS,
Cast: Taher Abdullah Taher, Bahar Ozen, Suzan Ilir, Billey Dimirtas
Contact: Norwegian Film Institute


Hisham Zaman

Film Director


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