News from the Locarno Festival

5 films about migration

"Marija" – Michael Koch


"El futuro perfecto" – Nele Wohlatz


"Zaineb takrahou ethelj" ("Zaineb Hates the Snow") – Kaouther Ben Hania


"Dormiente" – Tommaso Donati


"Ta’ang" – Wang Bing


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To begin a life anew, to see a country through new eyes, to reconcile with a painful past: these are three ways to depict immigration, a phenomenon that has always fascinated cinema. The outsider, possessor of that fresh outlook on the world that every director seeks, is the ideal protagonist of cinematic storytelling. In a time when walls are erected against movements through Europe and the Middle East, Locarno is a home to brave filmmaking that attempts to recreate connective tissue between those who should be welcoming and those who are looking for the chance of a new life.


1. Marija by Michael Koch

In the Concorso internazionale, Marija is a tale about difficult integration: the main character, a girl from the Ukraine, works in a hotel in Dortmund and dreams about opening a beauty parlor. Being ready to do anything to make this project come true, Marija will have to choose whether to conform to the unforgiving laws of capitalism.


2. El futuro perfecto by Nele Wohlatz

Xiaobin doesn’t speak a word of Spanish when he moves to Argentina with his family. A language course is the perfect opportunity to think about the future and possibilities of integration. With its Rohmer-like tone, El futuro perfecto is a sophisticated meditation on how words inform our thoughts and lives.


3. Zaineb takrahou ethelj (Zaineb Hates the Snow) by Kaouther Ben Hania

Halfway between fiction and documentary, Zaineb takrahou ethelj delicately follows the everyday life of a young Tunisian girl, from the age of nine to the age of fifteen. Following her father’s death, Zaineb will have to deal with her mother’s desire to move to Canada, but all is not as wonderful as she was told it would be…


4. Dormiente by Tommaso Donati

A man looks after the windings of an apartment building, but he appears to be a prisoner of his daily routine. His residence permit is about to expire, and the memories of a distant homeland expand to the point of swallowing him, like the dark forest he wanders into. Dormiente by Tommaso Donati is one of the Pardi di domani – Concorso nazionale.


5. Ta’ang di Wang Bing

Documentarian Wang Bing keeps giving a voice to an unseen China, as a people constantly on the move. The suffering yet tireless men and women at the center of Ta’ang (I film delle giurie) witness a will to survive that starts with stories told around a fire. Stories of survival that give the entire community a new strength.


Daniela Persico

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