It was 31 May 2009 when Mohamed Ba, an actor and cultural mediator, was the victim of a racist attack right in the centre of Milan. A senseless crime that took place amidst the flight and disinterest of passers-by and the institutions. There were no investigations and Ba was left alone to be swallowed up by the sad media fanfare reporting acts of violence against migrants: one of many who represents a ‘news’ item for a few days, and then disappears.
In his film Va’ Pensiero, storie ambulanti director Dagmawi Yimer begins with the this and other attacks that took place in Florence in recent years to restore the focus on the facts and give space and a voice to the victims. The film will be presented at an official preview in Milan at Cinema Anteo on Wednesday 26 February, at 9 pm, with the support ofFondazione Cariplo, the collaboration of numerous associations operating in Milan and the involvement of mayor Giuliano Pisapia.
The film will be introduced by Oreste Pivetta and Pap Khouma, the protagonist twenty-five years ago of Stranieri tra noi. Racconto di un milanese del Senegal (directed by Davide del Boca, 1989) – that was screened in the very same Cinema Anteo – and author of the first self-narrations of a migrant in Italy. Alongside the director and protagonists of the documentary (Mohamed Ba and Mor Sogou, who survived the Florence massacre in December 2011), will be journalists Maria Nadotti and Pietro Veronese, the author of Imbarazzismi, Kossi Komli-Ebri, and Alessandro Triulzi, chairman of the Archivio delle Memorie Migranti. Va’ Pensiero, storie ambulanti is produced by AMM – Archivio delle Memorie Migranti, with the contribution of lettera27 and Open Society Foundations.
lettera27 has supported AMM since its creation and shares its conviction that the language of cinema is a powerful catalyst for social change, by telling the stories of migration in first person. ‘Changing the perspective means escaping from an object narrative and instead becoming the ‘proprietor’ of one’s own story ’ – explains Dagmawi Yimer to Vanessa Lanari, during the course of an interview published on Doppiozero. Yimer’s transformation of the migrant into a protagonist of the narration ties in with the wider itinerary offered by AMM in recent years in the search for a shared approach to recount migration in Italy and the creation of forms of collective memory.
(For more information on the research and activities of AMM, read the article by Sandro Triulzi published by a “Zapruder. Storie in movimento“, n. 28, May-August 2012)
Va’ Pensiero, storie ambulanti. Info on the preview in Milan: Wednesday 26, Anteo Spaziocinema, Sala Quattrocento, Via Milazzo 9. Admission is free but subject to availability of places; for bookings: 02-43912769 – int.3). For the schedule of the next screenings in other Italian cities, look here.
Image: Milan, still, Va’ pensiero, Italy, 2013. Courtesy of Dagmawi Yimer.