MovieComparison: “Terraferma" and "When You Are Born You CanNo Longer Hide"
Thecinema industry in Italy has long been committed to shading morelight to the changes in the contemporary Italian society in relationto the issue of immigration. A myriad of stories and documentarieshave shaped its focus that more often than not tend to reveal thevisible yet also obscured world of immigration that has had profoundimpact in redefining Italia society and demographics. The imageselicit a flood of question with regard to the departure and arrivalof the immigrant communities across the Mediterranean Sea to thecountry. Nonetheless, major themes such as race, class, nationalityand citizenship are always inevitable.
Thisarticle will center on two current cinematic documentaries (MarcoTullio Giordana’s, "When You Are Born You Can No Longer Hide"(2005) and Emanuele Crialese’s, "Terraferma" (2011) in anattempt to provide an analytical review of the two directorsaddressed the multi-dimensional pattern of plight of immigrants toItaly via the Mediterranean.
Tobegin with, both Crialese and Giordana address the issue of massmigration to Italy from various shores of the Mediterranean Sea froma conflict point of view. From the films, the sheer suffering,mistreatment and subjection, and the general plight of foreignimmigrants is brought to the foreground. For instance, Crailese’smovie tend to stand against the traditional humanistic values Italyuses to formulate new laws that are aimed at fighting the influx ofillegal immigrants into the country. As the movie unfold, there occuran imminent clash between Italian law and the “law of the sea”which best illustrates the producer’s stand as far as immigrationto Italy is concerned. For example, a local fishing boat rams into araft putting the life of onboard immigrants at stake. Fortunately,Captain Ernesto timely intervenes and manages to rescue six swimmersand the Coast Guard saves and repatriate the other immigrants.However, Ernesto’s board is confiscated the following day on thegrounds that he failed to report the previous entry of illegalimmigrants into the country.
In"When You Are Born You Can No Longer Hide", Sandro isrescued by a flock of undocumented immigrants in sailing across theMediterranean with hopes of reaching Italy. Generally, Giordanaattempts bring to the foreground the essence of immigration acrossthe Mediterranean. He uses the experience of Sandro across the sea tojustify his firm stand against inhuman Italian laws that bear adverseimpact on immigrants. For example, it is by the grace of the illegalimmigrants that Sandro is rescued from eminent death. Nonetheless,there is a lot people can learn from the Sandro establishes with thetwo young Romanians. Also, the directors seem to project a future ofcontinued harassment of illegal immigrants in Italy. They share acommon stand o the fact that although Italia cinematography hasattempted to address the plight of immigrants, an end to the vice isstill distant.
Thereoccur clear-cut differences between the two films. In particular,Giordana assumed the perspective of a local young Italian boy,Sandro, in which he demonstrates the impact of immigration to thecontemporary Italian society. He featured cinematic themes such asidentity, language and cultural difference, class and power, and howthese factors conspire to render illegal immigrants hopeless andvictims of plethora of social injustices in Italy. For instance,Sandro’s encounter with the Romanians impacts his entire life.
Onthe other hand, Crialese assumed a typical illegal immigrants pointof view in an attempt to address the issue of mass immigration toItaly from all Mediterranean shores. Numerous scenes in his film seemto support his stand against the morally imperative rebellion againstillegal immigrants. In addition, he utilized effective cinematictechniques such as special effects, facial expression, cameramovement, costume, dialogue, among other tactics that reinforced themessage he intended to convey. For example, the desperate andhopeless faces as well as old and dirty clothes of immigrants whileon the boat speak out their destitute situation
Furthermore,the two movies feature a contrast between the way younger and oldergenerations react towards the arrival of so many destitute people. In"When You Are Born You Can No Longer Hide" (2005), Sandro,a young local Italia, who at first is disguised as an illegalimmigrant, warmly accommodates the two Romanian immigrants heencounters on a shipwreck. He further establishes a relationship withthe female immigrant and pursues the affair to the extent that heabandons his family in an effort to stay with her immigrant friend.
Incontrast, old people who come into contact with foreign immigrantstend to accommodate them unlike the young ones in “Terraferma."They try to resonate with the immigrants. For example, Ernestoprovides shelter to a certain young male immigrant accompanied by hisexpectant mother against Guilia’s will, while it remains a secretfrom the three young tourists who were sleeping next door.Additionally, there occur a conflict of interest between Ernesto andNino. Nino wants to provide a place for summer tourists on the islandwhile his father stages a vigorous protest in front of the securityofficers in support of their rights. Moreover, Filippo displays opendiscomfort with the immigrants at their garage.
Thereis effective camera movement in the two films. For instance, whenSandro wakes, the camera moves as he gazes the unfamiliar faces onthe boat. He is perplexed that all he can see are extremely tired,dirty, strange and emaciated faces around him. As in “Terraferma”,the camera movement is effectively utilized in the scene when Ernestostages a protest in front of the guards. The camera moves as he speakand alternate eye contact from one officer to another and back to theimmigrants. The camera movement reinforces the impact of the messagethe plight of immigrants.
Thedirectors incorporate effective sound effects, diegetic (doorsopening and closing, footsteps, dialogue, sound of moving water,cracking ship) and no-diegetic sounds to stimulate reality and morespecifically create the mode of the films. For instance as the moviesunfolds on the screen, the directors match immigrants sounds with thetheme projected at various scenes, for example, the sounds of theroaring immigrants before the police officers in ‘Terraferma’.Additionally, the respective music tracks employed in the films alsoreinforces the theme the directors seemed to convey. The low hum anddistant marimba also enhances the mood of the films.
Toachieve top results, the directors crafted the mood of the filmswisely with high contrast lighting. For example, during the day whileon the sea, limited light is casted as opposed to scenes taken atnight in which adequate lighting coupled with effective shadows areused to enhance the visual effects. Nonetheless, Crailese capitalizedon soft and hotter backlight and varied color temperatures are alsoother cinematic techniques.
Inrelation to costume, both movies opted for appropriate pieces ofattire for their characters. For example, in both movies, those whoplay the role of immigrants wear dirty and torn shreds of clothes. Incontrast, characters that play the role of the rich local Italiansare dressed in clean and neat designer attire. This contrast isintended to illuminate the class difference between the two parties.Moreover, appropriate facial expressions can be detected from scenesin both films. For instance, when Sandro wakes up and find himself inthe midst of total strangers, his face glows with an amused,terrified and confused gaze across the shipwreck. In anotherscenario, when Ernesto confronts the police officers, he wears afrown and dilates his eyes displaying the degree of his fury towardsthe officers and Nino.
Theproduction in both films employs both medium and long short. Mediumshorts are mainly used when casting Sandro, Ernesto and Guilia in theconversation between other characters. Moreover, medium shots covermore of the events, though some of the shots include the close upespecially when casting Sandro. The shooting is done at low anglewhen casting Sandro, Filippo and Guilia, making them appear as aninfluential character in this film. However, when casting the guards,eye level camera is used to offer a confrontational incidence betweencast characters. Nonetheless, overhead shots are used in both filmswhen covering episodes of immigrants on board.
Inconclusion, it is worth noting that Giordana and Crialese have madesignificant efforts to shade more light on issues pertaining toillegal immigrants as they enter Italy via the Mediterranean. A clearanalysis of their films reveals that there are a number ofsimilarities and differences in their articulation of massimmigration to Italy. Furthermore, young people differ from old onesin response to the influx of illegal in the country. However, thereis need for more attempts by Italian cinematic to effective addressthe immigration menace in Italy.
"Terraferma"(2011) by director Emanuele Crialese
"WhenYou Are Born You Can No Longer Hide" (2005) by director MarcoTullio Giordana& Francis, 2009.