Jakob Brossmann, AT/IT/CH 2015, 93'
Lampedusa In Winter
World Premiere
Wed 12.8.2015, 11.00, Cinema Teatro Kursaal
Thu 13.8.2015, 14:00, Palavideo

en / it / de / fr

Seen from the north, the affluent part of Europe, it seems like an Achilles’ heel. Viewed from the south, it is a door of hope for countless destitute migrants, for the persecuted seeking to save themselves. These are two sides of the same coin, glittering in the Mediterranean: Lampedusa, only 20,2 square kilometres in size but renowned the world over. The island is the destination of many ramshackle boats crammed with migrants who set sail in North Africa. If they are lucky, the refugees will reach the shore, or they will be apprehended at sea by the Italian coast guard. Often, however, they are in distress at sea – a sea that has become an anonymous grave. In the media, the stories of the (in)human tragedies of Lampedusa spread like wildfire. The international com- munity, governments and civil society are all called upon to find solutions but these are still a long way off. Apparently, it is very hard to reconcile the humanitarian obligation to help those in need with the protectionist isolation demanded by the vox populi of the wealthy states.

But the stories covered by the media only represent a part of reality. We only hear of the global role of Lampedusa, this “rock in the sea”, but next to nothing of its local reality, the roughly six thousand resident Sicilians. They were there long before the migrants arrived; now they measure their daily lives according to the presence of their “guests” – and continue to deal with their everyday problems after these have moved on. It is this third side of the coin, so to speak, the one hardly ever visible, that the Austrian Jakob Brossmann observed and documented with great sensitivity. His gaze as a director is cautious and unobtrusive. We witness the fishermen’s peaceful protest against the ferry company that has proven too incompetent to guarantee the ferry service to the mainland. We watch the junior football team training diligently in order to prepare for the next season. We look behind the scenes at the small museum of maritime tragedies, established by someone who painstakingly assembles all the possessions found from shipwrecked refugees, ranging from letters to life jackets. And then there is also the pugnacious mayor who takes a stand for everyone, locals as well as migrants. The film accompanies the daily lives in winter of many simple people who still call all foreign newcomers “turks” in their local dialect that is reminiscent of the early days of piracy. However, they try to care for these “turks” with great humanity.

Marco Zucchi