Even before this year’s festival officially opened its gates, Kino Mladosť screened the first festival film, Mediterranea, a feature-length debut by young Italian-American director Jonas Carpignano that tells a story of two migrants’ perilous voyage from the shores of Africa to Southern Italy.
The author approached the topic from the perspective of migrants, turning anonymous numbers from news reports into actual youngsters in flesh, with positive and negative qualities, past commitments as well as future hopes and expectations.
The two leading characters of Ayiva and Abas represent two different types of migrants; while the former is determined to make it against all odds and does not lose hope and optimism, the latter adopts a negative attitude to his new life and refuses to assimilate.
The picture has a realistic, almost documentary feel to it, often shot with a hand-held camera, which is why many shots are out-of-focus, chaotic and dark. But that does not detract from its atmosphere; quite the contrary as the documentary cinema language merely supports the impression of authenticity. The casting is equally important as the vast majority of protagonists are actually non-actors who basically play themselves. As a result, the picture’s soundtrack displays an interesting Babylon of languages and dialects. Director Carpignano has pointed out that one of his crucial tasks as director was to create a pleasant atmosphere on the set to make the (non-)actors act naturally and use their native languages spontaneously.
In telling his story, Carpignano is far from sharing superficial wisdom or giving advice on how to face the ongoing migration crisis. Instead, he offers a sensitive insight into one of thousands possible migrant stories, trying to restore the human dimension of dehumanised statistics. In little over 100 minutes, he manages to encourage the viewer to reflect on the situation, thoughts, motives and emotions of African migrants.
In response to the extremely topical issue of migration, the motion picture was simultaneously screened in Bratislava and six other towns around Europe; immediately after the projection, there was a live Q & A session with the director that was streamed from the Bozar cinema in Brussels to all participating cinemas.
Mediterranea will screen again on Saturday, November 14, at 13.15 in Kino Lumière.
By Pavla Rachelová