Save The Children reports that since the beginning of the year, more than 6,482 illegal migrants have landed on Italian shores (3,500 in just 5 days: from 13 to 17 February 2015). Of these, 500 are women and 700 children (200 unaccompanied ones). Moreover, considering only January, there was an increase of arrivals equal to 60% compared to 2014.
Italy is clearly not prepared to take care of all these desperate people, and the security risks from ISIS is a reality. While governments try to figure out what to do, filmmakers are telling the immigrants’ stories.
Director Andrea Segre has a couple of the best.
Io Sono Li (Shun Li and the Poet) is the story of the friendship formed between a Chinese indentured servant working to pay off her debt and bring her son to Italy, and fisherman.
Segre’s newest, La Prima Neve (First Snowfall) is the story of Dani, played by Jean-Chrisophe Folly, but Segre’s not on any soap box with this immigration story. Something tragic has happened to Dani, but we aren’t sure at first what it is. And when he goes to work for a woman played by Caprioli, and her family at their remote Alpine home we know that something bad has happened to them, too.
Segre’s lastest documentary, Come il peso dell’acqua (Like the weight of the water) was shown on Italian television on October 3, the anniversary of the “Strage di Lampedusa”, the massacre of Lampedusa. On that day in 2013 366 illegal immigrants died and around 20 are still missing after a shipwreck just a few miles from the port of the island of Lampadusa in Italy.
The film begins as a deep-sea diver swims slowly under water toward the outline of a wooden fishing boat.
Giuseppe Battiston is in a big empty room, asking himself why he doesn’t have the courage look, even though he’s known for years. Why are these corpses scaring him? He doesn’t know, but he knows that he wants to know.
Battiston’s voice accompanies the story of three women Gladys, Nasreen and Semhar, telling their difficult story of their journey to the Italian coast and their lives today. As the women speak, Battiston’s empty room starts filling up with objects and symbols of their stories, and in the end, he’s surrounded by the signs, the words, the maps, and the memories of his new consciousness.
In Terraferma, director Emanuele Crialese takes a good long look at the problem and for his effort was awarded the special jury prize the Venice Film Festival. Terraferma is a movie set on Lampedusa, an island south of Sicily, and tells the tale of a fishing boat captain who runs into a raft filled with African immigrants and loses his boat after he saves them, an act that had been proclaimed illegal by the Italian government. Are the police and the government the bad guys in this movie, or is it a little more complicated?