The Eldorado of migrants: the Swiss Markus Imhoof tells his documentary out of competition at the Berlin 2018
The Eldorado of migrants: the Swiss Markus Imhoof tells his documentary out of competition at the Berlin 2018

In conclusion of this lost Berlin, with an abundant and mediocre contest, a film has been presented out of competition that dialogues well with a former winner, Fuocoammare by Gianfranco Rosi. Eldorado, like the reflections of the thermal blankets with the sun, while the migrants are rescued by Italian ships, or as the Paradise to be reached, in the well-being of the rich areas of the continent, where they may already have a relative. The director is the Swiss Markus Imhoof, whom we met in Berlin.

How was the idea of ​​uniting a personal memory of 70 years ago with today's refugees?

The story of Giovanna, a refugee girl who was with our family at the end of the Second World War, was already at the base of a film I made almost forty years ago, in 1981, The boat is full. That experience lived as a child has always been the starting point to get closer to those who have lived a war and come from another part of the world. Seeing the boats this time really full of refugees pushed me to go back to the subject today, going to shoot on the Navy ship of the operation Mare Nostrum. I did not think to include the story of Giovanna, but when I told her during a production meeting, moving me, they all looked at me saying that it should have been the heart of the film. As a result, I opened my heart and my collaborators pulled out the secrets. I also emigrated to Milan, where I wrote the screenplay for The Full Boat and then edited the film, which won an Oscar nomination for best foreign film. I always had to define Swiss in Milan, crossing the Gotthard I became a foreigner, something that always forced me to reflect on who I am and why.

In the film we talk about Dante and a structure, actually at the center of the film, with Inferno, the crossing of these people, the Purgatory, represented by the arrival in the collection centers and the hope of a Paradise, which should be the arrival towards L'Eldorado, rich northern Europe. The feeling is that, after the first third, the emotionally stronger one, but which she tells with great sobriety, as spectators we relax because the worst seems to have passed, but with less defenses we are punished harder by the Kafka's tragic situation.
The Eldorado of migrants: the Swiss Markus Imhoof tells his documentary out of competition at the Berlin 2018

He told it in a very beautiful way, if it works like that, I'm very happy. The most horrendous situation is that of the ghetto in Italy, where they are exploited for the harvest of tomatoes, they live in a slam, in even worse conditions than those from which they started.

There is a state that leaves the camp to exploit the mafia. The head of the first reception camp tells you that he does not know where those who have been rejected live, but everyone knows where the ghetto is.

It is a film of encounters, which is the one that has most marked it?

At each station there are faces that touch me and I can not forget. For example, there is a woman in a purple dress who is rescued, disembarks and goes to sleep. I often think, almost every day, where it ended: in the brothel of the ghetto? Did you leave children behind? Then one of the most important meetings is with a boy in the ghetto who says he went on strike because they had not paid him the work in the fields. He told us his story, really impressive, but we cut it to stay in the 90 '. At 16 he crossed the desert, then the sea, he came to Italy, where he was welcomed by a family, he matured and now he is studying in Paris. He is a happy example, but he has a very precise idea: he wants to go back to Africa after studying and become a politician.

There is much talk of helping them in Africa, before coming to Europe, and she at the end of the film shows a man who comes back, with the money to buy two cows, but faces a surreal situation.

In Europe there is too much milk, there is also talk of burning excess milk powder, which costs a lot of energy produced in nuclear power plants, all subsidized, and then now with this new agreement with West Africa it is sold without taxes, so it costs less than the poor man's milk that in the film you can see two cows buy with the Swiss help.

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