Abel Ferrara‘s latest film is a kaleidoscope of impressions that narrates the life of immigrants in Italy and their shared experience of desperation and an uncertain future in Europe.
While documentary film directors usually strive to make movies that follow a classical film structure, many filmmakers working within the fictional genre seem to think that making a documentary consists of putting together random impressions on a certain topic. At least that is my feeling after viewing Ferrara’s documentary of Rome’s largest city square, Piazza Vittorio. This kaleidoscope lacks a beginning, middle and an end or even a clear opinion, yet the film is thought provoking and intelligent. The film is not only a tribute to this neighbourhood of Rome, which in itself is an international melting pot in the city, but also to all the hardworking, migrant people of the world.
From an immigrant’s perspective
Willem Dafoe – apparently also a fresh immigrant to these quarters – comments: «I am always amazed, just like in New York, that everyone is not waking up and just killing each other… I think it is because of the extreme generosity of this neighbourhood and the Italians.» This is definitely an impression I am left with after watching the film. Clearly there must be something particular about the Italian culture that encourages people to embrace the refugees in such a humane manner, but at the same time I wonder whether their hospitality hasn’t reached a saturation point.
«Ferrara is trying to tell us that misfortune can strike us all and human migration is as old as human kind.»
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