Ten Years of Participatory Cinema as a Form of Political Solidarity with Refugees in Italy. From ZaLab and Archivio Memorie Migranti to 4CaniperStrada
2. Ten Years of Participatory Cinema with ZaLab and Archive of Migrant Memories
3. 4Caniperstrada: Participatory Cinema with Refugees in Sardinia
- On the Same Boat34 (ITA, 2017, 71′) direction of Stefania Muresu, T. Khalifa, U. Aziz, S. Suwareh, produced by Roda Film e 4CaniperStrada.
Conflicts of Interest
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The reception of refugees and asylum seekers in Italy is handled by three different systems: CARA (Centres of Reception for Asylum Seekers), CAS (Centres of Extraordinary Reception), and SPRAR (System of Protection for Asylum Seekers and Refugees), which answer to the Ministry of the Interior. The local representatives of the Ministry of the Interior, the prefects, are in charge of the structures and camps in which asylum seekers are hosted. These structures are often owned by NGOs or private citizens, who receive government funds (Zamponi 2018, p. 103).
For a critique of humanitarianism, see (Fassin 2010).
The concept of framing derives from Erving Goffman’s Frame Analysis (1974) and it is widely used in all social sciences (for an introduction in the field of communication, Barisione 2009). Applied to social … movements (Snow 2004), the idea of framing suggests that meanings are constructed through interpretative processes and they are contestable. Social movement leaders and participants (as well as their opponents) regularly engage in this conflictive signifying work.
See for example the works of Fernand Melgar (http://www.swissfilms.ch/de/film_search/filmdetails/-/id_person/3059), in particular “Vol special” (free available at https://vimeo.com/111191661, last accessed on 9 October 2018), distributed in Italy by ZaLab.
Vittorio Iervese was the curator of two cycles of films selected “to rebel against standardizing words and pictures” full of pietism, hate and fear of migrants. See “Ali in the City. Contemporary migration patterns: drifts and destinations” (Festival dei Popoli 2015) and “Looking for Neverland” (Festival dei Popoli 2016), www.festivaldeipopoli.org/en (last accessed 13 November 2018).
Migrant cinema remains a rather controversial notion. It has two major definitions: (1) films made by non-European filmmakers; and (2) European films dealing with migrant themes, characters and issues. In this essay we focus on Italian documentary films made (also) by migrants through a participatory process. For a critical discussion on European and Italian cinema of migrations, “Welcome to Schengenland. Tre cinestorie di ospitalità e colpevolezza” by De Franceschi (2017, pp. 181–97).
See Gianturco and Peruzzi 2015 for a study on Italian cinema and migrations. For an interview with Dagmawi Yimer on how to “unlearn racism” through cinema of migrations, (Frisina 2018).
Seasonal workers did not have a right to family reunification. Their status prevented them from renting homes, changing employer and reuniting with their families. In the film Lo stagionale, Giuseppe, the protagonist, an Italian migrant, his “clandestine” son and the comrades of the Colonie Libere choose to protest for their rights in Switzerland, against the status of seasonal workers. In 1970, outside the Italian embassy and the federal Swiss Parliament, the fiction of the film met the reality of the documentary and the political actors met the actors of the film.
“I thought that this film could give us Italians the chance to clearly see our condition: a mirror in which we could observe our reflected image and take consciousness of how unjust the conditions we lived in were, exploited day and night, separated from our families” (www.swissinfo.ch/ita/con-gli-occhi-di-alvaro-bizzarri--il-regista-operaio/410812).
At the end of the seventies the Colonie Libere organized several courses for “animatori cinematografici” all over Switzerland. The aims were teaching those who would direct the film clubs to analyze the films (deconstruct the mechanisms which could capture the “spettatori-consumatori” “spectator-consumers”).
From the mid-1990s the “ethics of access” has made headway, an approach to documentaries which aims to both increase the reflexivity/responsibility of the filmmakers with respect to citizen audiences, and also make audiovisual technology more accessible in order to give back to social actors control of how they are represented.
Stefano Collizzolli, personal communication 9 November 2018.
Commenting on Stefania Parigi’s text (2014) on neorealism, the renowned film critic Paolo Mereghetti (“the second lives of neorealism” in La Lettura del Corriere 18 August 2014) claimed that neorealist film-makers’ deepest aspiration was “to give aesthetic value to the imperatives of ethics”. Ethics is key to the work of participatory video, whilst aesthetics is sometimes sacrificed in order to prioritise social intervention. Nonetheless, Zalab, AMM and 4CaniperStrada share the neorealist project of democratising the image and its social impact (Parigi 2014).
Among award winning documentary films on migrations produced by ZaLab: “South of Lampedusa” “Green Blood” and “Ibi” by Andrea Segre, “Our Best Years” by Stefano Collizzolli and Matteo Calore; and “Limbo” by Matteo Calore and Gustav Hofer. On ZaLab’s “narratives of change”, see (Ardizzoni 2013).
ZaLab distributed films such as “On the bride’s side” by Gabriele Del Grande, Khaled Soliman and Antonio Augugliaro; “Les Sauteurs” by Moritz Siebert, Estephan Wagner and Abou Bakar Sidibé; and, most recently, “Iuventa” by Michele Cinque.
Stefano Collizzolli (personal communication, Padova, 26 September 2018) quoted the data collected through www.cinemaitaliano.info and elaborated by Zalab (gray paper, 2016): in 2006 87 independent documentaries were produced, 25 of which were about immigration, in 2014 560 documentaries were produced, and about 200 of these on the theme of immigration.
Andrea Segre is also the director of three fiction films on migrations: “Io sono Li”, “La prima neve” and “L’ordine delle cose”. The latter is the most political (https://lordinedellecose.it/pamphlet/ last accessed 9 October 2018) and it contributed to creating an Italian national forum for migrants’ right to move through legal channels and to stay in Europe in decent conditions (http://pclodc.blogspot.com last accessed 9 October 2018). The name of the movement derives from the movie “Per cambiare l’ordine delle cose” (i.e., to change the order of things).
http://www.zalab.org/en/projects/like-a-man-on-earth/ (last accessed 9 October 2018). It was presented at Milano Film Festival in 2008 and it was the winner of SalinaDocFest in 2009 (Vanoli 2018, p. 190).
Dagmawi Yimer was a Law student from Addis Ababa who left Ethiopia because of the strong political repression. After crossing the desert, surviving the violence in Libya, he arrived by boat in Italy. In Rome he took part in the participatory video laboratory (“The desert and the sea”, 2007) and he started to film.
On this issue, see https://www.msf.org/libya-open-letter-european-governments-are-feeding-business-suffering (last accessed on 9 October 2018).
http://www.zalab.org/en/projects/closed-sea/ (last accessed on 9 October 2018).
http://unipd-centrodirittiumani.it/en/news/The-European-Court-of-Human-Rights-condemns-Italy-for-its-push-back-policy-to-Libya-in-2009/2381 (last accessed on 9 October 2018).
For example, AMM organized an exhibition with objects of migrants and, more recently, there has been a project with migrants’ multimedial diaries (project DIMMI).
http://www.asinitas.org/?portfolio=c-a-r-a-italia-3 (last accessed on 9 October 2018). Per un’analisi di “C.A.R.A. Italia”, see O’Healy 2012, pp. 136–7.
See also the criticism from the collective Askavusa: https://askavusa.wordpress.com/2016/02/24/1428/ (accessed on 9 October 2018).
https://vimeo.com/77179552 (last accessed on 9 October 2018).
http://va-pensiero.org See also its anti-racist educational kit edited by AMM, https://www.giuntiscuola.it/lavitascolastica/magazine/news/eventi/percorsi-di-antirazzismo-in-classe-ecco-il-kit-va-pensiero/ (last accessed on 9 October 2018).
https://vimeo.com/114849871 (last accessed on 9 October 2018).
S. Muresu joined the artistic collective since 2007 collaborating as director and visual researcher in workshop of participatory cinema and social documentaries. http://www.4caniperstrada.org/en/productions/ (last accessed on 9 October 2018).
http://www.videopartecipativosardegna.net (last accessed on 9 October 2018).
http://www.4caniperstrada.org/en/portfolio/nako-la-terra-nako-the-land/ (last accessed on 9 October 2018).
http://www.videopartecipativosardegna.net (last accessed on 9 October 2018).
http://www.4caniperstrada.org/en/portfolio/on-the-same-boat/ (last accessed on 9 October 2018).
“Accented cinema” comprises different types of cinema made by exilic, diasporic, and postcolonial ethnic and identity filmmakers who live and work in countries other than their country of origin. The distinction between the sub-categories of exilic, diasporic and postcolonial ethnic films is based chiefly on the varied relationship of the films and their makers to existing or imagined homeplaces (Naficy 2001).
Reclaiming or Constructing? Real or Un-Real? How do objective and subjective visions coexist in the places of the image? Definition of “Un-Real” by Giovanni Festa (in Dottorini 2013, pp. 51–61): “a sore wound inflicted in the real, embedded in its surface. A reality that raves, disintegrates, imagines”.
“A corto di identità” First film prize promoted by Fondazione Ente dello Spettacolo, during Tertio Millennio Film Fest 2017.
Or ethno-fiction? An example of the use of a language located between cinematographic fiction and a reality developed through the practice of visual ethnography. A definition of ethno-fiction comes from visual anthropology and is provided by the ethnologist and anthropologist Marc Augé: “a narration that evokes a social reality, observed through the subjectivity of an individual”, (Augé 2011, p. 8).
María Lugones writes: “through traveling to other people’s worlds” we discover that there are “worlds” in which those who are the victims of arrogant perception are really subjects, lively beings, resistors, constructors of visions, even though in the mainstream construction they are animated only by the arrogant perceiver and are pliable, foldable, file-awayable, classifiable”, (Lugones 1987, pp. 3–19).
Here there are the first 50 Italian politicians who received this gift: http://comeunuomosullaterra.blogspot.com/2008/12/politici-natale-come-un-uomo.html.
About 45,000 people joined the campaign and more than 150 dvds were sent as gift to politicians from Italian citizens (Stefano Collizzolli’s personal communication, 26 November 2018).
In 2018 ZaLab organized a one-year project in collaboration with SPRAR, using participatory video laboratory to engage both refugees and social workers involved in the reception system, from North, Centre and South Italy.
Minister Salvini’s recent “decreto immigrazione” has dramatic effects on migrants’ rights and on the system of reception of asylum seekers and refugees. See https://www.meltingpot.org/Il-CdM-ha-approvato-il-decreto-immigrazione-ma-la-battaglia.html#.W6-TwmW3m0g (last accessed 9 October 2018)
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Frisina, A.; Muresu, S. Ten Years of Participatory Cinema as a Form of Political Solidarity with Refugees in Italy. From ZaLab and Archivio Memorie Migranti to 4CaniperStrada. Arts 2018, 7, 101. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts7040101
Frisina A, Muresu S. Ten Years of Participatory Cinema as a Form of Political Solidarity with Refugees in Italy. From ZaLab and Archivio Memorie Migranti to 4CaniperStrada. Arts. 2018; 7(4):101. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts7040101Chicago/Turabian Style
Frisina, Annalisa, and Stefania Muresu. 2018. "Ten Years of Participatory Cinema as a Form of Political Solidarity with Refugees in Italy. From ZaLab and Archivio Memorie Migranti to 4CaniperStrada" Arts 7, no. 4: 101. https://doi.org/10.3390/arts7040101