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'Trieste is beautiful at night' Italian films about migration

Updated: Aug 29, 2023

"Trieste is beautiful by night" is a Italian films about migration the latest film by Andrea Segre, a director specialised in the analysis of the marginality of ethnic groups, peoples and cultures.

The film was produced by ZaLab, a collective of six filmmakers, whose only preview I saw at the Cinema Aquila in Rome.

The exclamation "Trieste is beautiful at night" is from some young people when at first light, having crossed the last border, they arrive on the Carso plateau, the sky is sprinkled with lights and at their feet, in the waters of the Gulf, the city of Trieste, for five centuries the Hapsburg pearl, is reflected in the waters: indicating the most beautiful thing in their lives, after years of travel, hopes and extreme difficulties.

italian films about migration
Trieste as seen from the Napoleonic coastal road

The Italian films about migration denounces a practice of the Italian state, which began in the midst of pandemic confusion, of some rejections of migrants in Fernetti, on the border with Slovenia, which were later judged illegal by the judiciary of the Court of Rome.

The direction, by Andrea Segre and Stefano Collizzolli, with photography by Matteo Calore, is a magnetic use of a succession of flash-backs that the migrants narrate, through short Tik-Tok videos, immersing the spectator in the journey and in their emotions, perfectly conveying the idea of the subjectivity of the peoples of Western Asia.

Videos, fragments and tales of nightmares and fears, filmed together with those who experienced those 'games', as they call them, in a continuous attempt to overcome the next level, as if they were in a game!

A subjective tale, where the director's intervention is placed in the confrontation with the objectivity of the chronicles of the judicial acts, in a proof of how the concept of border is increasingly confused, aleatory, unstable and for this reason dangerous... why "dangerous" we will find out at the end, with a question posed by the migrants themselves.

The uncontrolled migratory phenomenon, i.e. without a formal union of EU policies on the matter, is forcing member governments to invent new procedures, beyond the constitutional limits themselves, in a succession of autonomous procedures of each state body that jeopardises, by contradicting its principles, the very idea on which the European Union is founded and consequently weakens its international political weight.

"Trieste is beautiful by night" has a strong musical colouring produced by a professional musician who plays the Rubab, one of the national instruments of Afghanistan and areas inhabited by Pashtuns and Beluchis, Sindhi, Kashmir and the Sikhs of the Punjab.

These are stories that are directly inserted into our Memory, they escape oblivion and with blood, pain and wounds they reproduce, becoming forever the fabric of History.

Let us, however, go in order and explain what happened...

In May 2020, the Ministry of the Interior, Luciana Lamorgese, introduced operations defined as "informal readmissions" of migrants to Slovenia with "chain rejections" without allowing them to have, mind you, not asylum but the possibility to start the Asylum Application. That is to ascertain whether or not they are entitled to it!

The readmissions to Slovenia were carried out without any administrative measure as provided instead by Law 241/90 art. 2 and 3 were instead forced, compulsory and were not notified to the interested parties, also violating the personal freedom enshrined in art. 13 of the Constitution according to which the restriction of personal freedom is prohibited except by reasoned act of the Judicial Authority.

On 14 July 2020 MP Riccardo Magi, of the +Europa and Radicals parties, presented an urgent interpellation where he asked for reasons and the government replied with Achille Variato, Undersecretary of State for the Interior, that "all migrants' rights had been respected".

In January 2021 however, the Court of Rome, in Judge Silvia Albano's ruling 56420/2020 after an appeal by a Pakistani citizen, sanctioned the 'readmissions' as illegal and suspended them until 28 November 2022 when the current minister Matteo Piantedosi reactivated them.

Italian films about migration presentation
Silvia Albano civil judge in the presentation of Italian films about migration

Minister Lamorgese later reported that from 1 January to 25 June 2020, 852 readmissions had been carried out from Italy to Slovenia. The migrants were sent back as far as Bosnia without being identified and above all without having the possibility to apply for asylum, a fact for which the Italian state was ordered to pay an indemnity to the plaintiff.

The Geneva Convention and the Dublin III Regulation, in particular Articles 1 and 3 of the latter: "requires Member States to examine any application for international protection" [...] "before a decision is taken to transfer the applicant to the responsible Member State".

The readmissions were carried out in application of the bilateral Agreement between the Government of the Italian Republic and the Government of the Republic of Slovenia, signed on 3rd September 1996 in a simplified form, i.e. without the ratification of the Parliament, when at that time the Prime Minister was Scalfaro and the Prime Minister Prodi, but in a historical context completely different from the current one, i.e. before the ratification of the Lisbon Treaty of 1st December 2009, which provides for the division of competences between the Union and the Member States and in art. 19 prohibits collective expulsions.

According to the doctrine, the conclusion of agreements in simplified form is excluded when the agreement falls into one of the categories indicated by Article 80 of the Constitution, which provides for ratification by the Head of State preceded by authorisation by the Chamber of Deputies, for international treaties that are political in nature or that provide for amendments to laws.

Article 2 of the Bilateral agreement also refers to "refugees" and not to "asylum seekers", since recognition as a "refugee" is a procedure implicit in the application, the prerequisites of which the foreigner asks to ascertain, but how can his rights be ascertained if he is not allowed to apply for asylum?

Also according to the Agreement, States are obliged to ensure that there are preconditions for full respect of fundamental rights and human dignity, where the transfer takes place; where there is a risk of inhuman or degrading treatment, within the meaning of the art. 4 CFR, refoulement and readmission, in the state identified as responsible, cannot take place.

italian films about migration
Movie poster italian films about migration

There are a plurality of sources in this regard, from the press to international bodies, from the European Union to the UN, testifying to the extremely difficult conditions faced by migrants in the countries along the Balkan route and the inhuman, cruel and degrading treatment they are subjected to by Croatian police, especially and Slovenian police, with the implicit aim of discouraging them from travelling.

Reasons must also be given to the person concerned for the readmission decision and it must be appealable, if appropriate, by providing information on the available means of appeal, which would otherwise violate Art. 24 of the Costitution.

The possibility of applying for asylum was denied both in Italy, where they were threatened with sticks and loaded onto a van, and in Slovenia, where they were put in prison without food or water, and in Croatia, where they were deported handcuffed, beaten with batons wrapped in barbed wire and kicked on the back; then finally they were taken to Bosnia and abandoned in the countryside; thus making Italy responsible for the Art.3 e 13, art. 4 paragraph 4 the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR).

Finally, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) had already found the violation of the ban on collective expulsions by Poland to Belarus, by Switzerland to Italy, by Italy to Greece and by France to Italy.

The continued violation by Member States of the rule of law, the basis of the strength of our history as a Union, is weakening us internationally.

The provocative question posed at the end by migrants regarding the danger of such an uncertain border is the same one I have posed many times in my theses on the subject: but if rights are not respected, why are they sponsored, enticing people more and more to leave, then die or suffer?

Migration from being a human-social phenomenon has become a divisive electoral premise, the only guaranteed party identity in the race to win votes, but built on the backs of migrants and played, as in the game of Goose, on their lives.

By Pier Paolo Piscopo



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