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From exclusion to expression in A Sud di Lampedusa and Come un uomo sulla terra: Visualizing detention centres along Italy-bound migrant routes

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The article analyses two Italian documentaries – A sud di Lampedusa (South of Lampedusa) by Andrea Segre et al. (2006) and Come un uomo sulla terra (Like a Man on Earth) by Andrea Segre et al. (2008) – whose novelty lies in their focus on the Sahara Desert crossing of undocumented migrants instead of the more common Mediterranean crossing, and in the latter film, the recollection of the traumatic experience of the detention in Africa once they arrive in Italy. The films reverse the effacement typical of news reportages by giving direct voice and agency to the migrants through interviews, or also including the migrants in the filmmaking process. In denouncing the trans-national government-assisted control and exclusion of migrants, the two documentaries visualize through silence, storytelling, and props what remains otherwise ‘undocumentable’ – the detention centres – of which the article offers a brief history as places of ‘legal exception’ both in Africa and Italy.
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Keywords: Andrea Segre; Mediterranean migrations; detention centres; documentary films; migratory aesthetic; refugees in Italy; undocumented migration

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Montclair State University

Publication date: January 1, 2018

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  • The Journal of Italian Cinema & Media Studies (JICMS) is a fully peer reviewed English language journal, which explores Italian cinema and media as sites of crossing, allowing critical discussion of the work of filmmakers, artists in the film industry and media professionals. The journal intends to revive a critical discussion on the auteurs, celebrate new directors and accented cinema, and examine Italy as a geo-cultural locus for contemporary debate on translocal cinema.
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