Florence November 25th – December 2nd 2016

International documentary film festival


Sunday, November 27th, Spazio Alfieri, 3 pm - Free Entrance

During WWII, in Switzerland a motto became very popular, so much so that it’s still in fashion: “The boat is full!” Switzerland, as a non-belligerent country, had become one of most coveted destinations for those in need of a safe haven from persecution and from the conflict that had plunged the rest of Europe in blood. The answer to be given to those who were pressing on Switzerland’s borders is well summarized in the poster that Victor Subek made in 1946.

"Das Boot is voll" (the boat is full) became a slogan that answered both the asylum applications and the accusations of cynicism addressed to the Swiss in those years. Almost a century later, the ideal and material image of society as a boat bursting at the seams and about to sink has become a formidable hyper-icon: from post-war Geneva to the October 2016 protest in Goro, a small village in the province of Ferrara, Italy, it’s a short step; there’s not many a slip twixt “the boat is full” and “enough is enough”. The image of the bursting boat is a recurrent one, it mixes and hybridizes with the current topics and contingencies of the times concerned with these phenomena. On the other hand, the image also refers to the desperate travels of the migrants fleeing from war or famine. An image that has become dramatically familiar.

Within LOOKING FOR NEVERLAND the Focus that Festival dei Popoli this year devotes to documentaries dealing with the migrants, we wanted to launch a reflection and discussion on this subject by questioning the common sense about the discourse on the refugees. Is the boat actually full? Isn’t this image ambiguous and misleading, one of those figures that intoxicate the collective imagination and language?

We have invited journalists, social operators, researchers, documentary film-makers to discuss this topic along with the audience of Festival dei Popoli, an institution always ready to go beyond common places and ask (itself) awkward questions.

Moderator: Vittorio Iervese

Luigi Achilli, ricercatore EUI
Giulia Bondi, giornalista
Emilio Ciarlo , Agenzia Italiana per la Cooperazione allo Sviluppo
Daniela Consoli, Asgi
Andrea Marchesini, Direttore Lai-Momo
Anna Meli, Cospe

In collaboration with Cospe, TerraProject and Multiverso Firenze

Sunday, November 27th, Spazio Alfieri, 3 pm - Free Entrance

by Anne-Claire Adet
(Switzerland, 2016, 14’)

A first-person, sensory immersion in the suffocating experience of living in an underground shelter built during WWII. Asylum seekers are currently locked up in such shelters, dozens of metres deep. The film invites the viewer to experience the anxiety of one of them, Mohammad, who re-evokes his experience of living underground.

Sunday, November 27th, Spazio Alfieri, 3 pm - Free Entrance

by Stefan Kessissoglou
(Germany, 2016, 34’)

The film follows the story of two asylum seekers in the Czech Republic and interviews the official in charge of their destiny. Thus, a very interesting reflection is developed about the decision-making mechanisms that determine whether the status of refugee is granted or not, highlighting how elusive this subject can be and how difficult it is to prove the condition of political persecution once and for all. In fact, the burden of proof lies with the rules (and will) of the reception system.

Sunday, November 27th, Spazio Alfieri, 6:30 pm

Le Passeur
by Danielle Arbid
(France, 1999, 13’)

Ibrahim, a Kurdish political refugee, is hired by the French health service that repatriates the bodies of people of African origin who die in France. On his first day at work, he witnesses the removal of a corpse from a flat in the Parisian banlieue. Ibrahim will be catapulted into a confusing, strange world, with funny undertones in spite of its harsh reality. He’ll become a sort of ferryman from life to death.

Aux frontières
On Borders

by Danielle Arbid
(France, Lebanon, 2003, 58’)

A tour of the frontier between the land with two names, Israel and Palestine, and the neighbouring countries: Jordan, Lebanon, Syria, and Egypt. Without ever crossing the border, we travel between Lebanon and Jordan, the settlements of refugees, exiled, and enemies. Danielle Arbid tries to watch that land with the same eyes as those who see it from outside, whose gaze is tinted by disparate, conflicting feelings.

Sunday, November 27th, Spazio Alfieri, 8:30 pm

by Sergio Oksman
(Spain, 2012, 26’)

A man who dreams of becoming an actor and lands a small role in Rosemary’s Baby by Roman Polanski. This will be his only appearance in cinema. Departing from a detail of that film, like in a visionary novel the story of a family is narrated by way of letters, photos, and objects. A short, dazzling cutting of words and pictures portrays the invisible, unknown madness and creativity of an existence.

by Sergio Oksman
(Spain, 2006, 72’)

Al Lewis is an American character actor who was famous for playing the role of the grandfather in the cult series of the Sixties The Monsters. In the dressing room of a small studio set, while the actor’s face is being made up, he tells the story of himself in front of the mirror, spanning from political commitment and love for the show business to cinema, television, and radio. A story that soon becomes a portrait of America, its dreams and utopias, its fights and disillusionments.

Sunday, November 27th, Spazio Alfieri, 10:30 pm


by Robert Oey
(Netherlands, 2016, 90’)

The film is about the UN mission in Mali seen through the eyes of a colonel of the Dutch Special Forces, Joost de Wolf. A soldier gifted with mettle and common sense, in 2014 he was appointed deputy CO of the operations conducted by the UN peace mission in Mali. On his arrival, the Malian army attacks the rebel in the region. The colonel is at a loss in trying to keep the peace between the factions and understanding the strategy of the UN leaders.

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