Schadenfreude the concept is widely accepted as a common human feeling … most recently exemplified by Facebook’s suggestion of the new ‘Schadenfreude’ button, (created, I hasten to add SINCE we started shooting our film). The word has become particularly synonymous with the media and is frequently mentioned in reference to those who work within it and their love of a good bad-news story.
Schadenfreude our film is an exploration of the modern media and it’s, (and perhaps our), insatiable need for tabloid fodder and the enjoyment we take in others’ misfortunes. These concepts are woven together in a darkly comic murder mystery tale. We follow the inhabitants of New Street Junction and the members of the media who are hounding them, over the course of one week, each day it’s own chapter exploring it’s own different form of the feeling of schadenfreude: Monday is a tale of the unexpected, Tuesday is a farce, Wednesday is a courtroom drama’, Thursday is a cat and mouse story, Friday is a mystery… and just like the chapters of our Professor’s book, each day of the week takes our sadistic pleasure up a notch. But together they give us the answer to the question: “Who killed Paige Boston?”.
The film is set over a week with each day demonstrating a new form of Schadenfreude. Each day is almost a short story in its own right -much like the way in which the media has its “story of the day”! Monday is a tale of the unexpected, Tuesday is a farce. Wednesday is a courtroom drama. Thursday is a game of cat-and-mouse. And Friday is a mystery drama. But they all add up to one grand tale: the story of “Who Killed Paige Boston?”
The film’s cast of eccentrics, crazies, clowns and villains and the unusual and unique style of Simon’s designs are integral to the story the film is telling. In the cartoon language of the film the colour scheme uses a background of black and white onto which Simon has imposed the 3 primary colours, red, blue and yellow, to give us a bold style which reflects the 3 main branches of the media in a graphic way: blue for the Tory press, red for the Left Wing and yellow for the tabloid media.
Simon’s strong visual story also serves to polarise the 2 worlds he draws together – the media, dark and slick, and New St Junction, colourful and clumsy. Put these elements together and Simon has created the carnival of colour and character that we call Schadenfreude the film. In Simon’s words:
“I was moved to write and create this piece for 3 reasons: Firstly, just my life-long love of good old fashioned murder mystery, secondly I was really interested in the concept of having a murder mystery where it is the media as a whole who are investigating that murder, and finally I was fascinated in the idea that the media and the public love nothing more than examining real life murder story, which of course lies at the heart of the whole notion of schadenfreude.”