"Mediterranea" engages the big conversation about migrant issues but from the perspective of the migrator.
So many of us watch the news and every other day there’s a story about migrants crossing borders illegally and dying in their attempt to cross over to greener pastures.
Is the grass really greener on the other side? "Mediterranea" highlights the pain and disappointment of a migrant.
The feature film by Italian filmmaker Jonas Carpignano had its African premiere in Lagos yesterday, Sunday, November 8, 2015 at the opening night of the 2015 Africa International Film Festival (AFRIFF).
The film follows the life of Ayiva and his best friend Abbas as they leave their home in Burkina Faso for a better job/life in Italy.
This film is the first of Carpignano’s that I’ve seen. The director’s interpretation of the film from script is brilliant. He pays attentions to the details in the sense that he gives the audience an idea of Ayiva’s journey every step of the way.
"Mediterranea" doesn’t just tell a story, it shows you. The visual grasp of the passage is jarringly similar to the stories we hear of on the news. The moving picture showed the travellers course through the desert and caves, a stormy sea voyage and an ambush from desert raiders. These scenes, the set design and selected filming locations help set the tone of the tensioned quest. I don’t know if this film is based a real life story but it sure highlighted the realities of illegal migration and the horrors the emigrant faces to get to the so called greener pasture.
Ayiva is a character we all probably know in real life who no matter what happens he/she remains hopeful about the future. This is present in his dialogue with his best friend who at a point in the movie starts to lose hope amidst the long working hours they work, the squalor they live in and the racism they have to deal with.
"Mediterranea" engages the big conversation about migrant issues but from the perspective of the migrator. It has a message for us all; migrants are not enemies of the country they’ve moved to. They’ve left their homes and in many cases their families so they can give their families a better life.
In many cases, it turns out they’ve been misinformed. I’m sure you’ve probably heard of your neighbour’s cousin’s brother’s aunt’s friend who has a great job in England and is making Pounds. Their Facebook account gives their friends an impression that they are living a great life, but it in reality they actually wash toilets for a living. Despite being an orange picker, Ayiva still makes enough to provide for his family back home. After tension between the immigrants and locals becomes physical, Ayiva starts to think it may be time to go home but the responsibilities of looking after his family have him in a dilemma.
Despite the film being in French and Italian, it moved me to bits. The anti-climax at the end of ‘Mediterranea’ was a bit too much to handle.
No spoilers here, go watch the film!