La terramadre

Young Gaetano grew up in Palma di Montechiaro, in southern Sicily. Since his mother’s death he has been living with his ailing aunt. Gaetano loves the barren landscape of his home, but his father wants to bring him to Germany. The occasional refugee boat that washes up on the shore regularly reminds people that there is always someone worse off than they are. Gaetano’s situation is reflected in Ali, one of the survivors: another one who wanted to stay, but was pressured to leave. La terramadre tells of the love of home and the loss of home. Palma is a far cry from the Italy touted in holiday brochures: monochromatic façades, a narrow beach, rigid Catholicism, the misery of the refugees – but Gaetano can’t imagine living anywhere else. He seems to have grown together with his home and he unconsciously fears that, if he went to a foreign country, the same thing could happen to him that happened to the refugee Ali – uprooted, robbed of his native language, exploited, and constantly in fear of prosecution. As if by accident, the powerful images also paint a portrait of the run-down but strangely beautiful city of Palma, which turns into a third main character alongside Gaetano and Ali.
Claudius Lünstedt
by Nello La Marca
with Michele Di Rosa, Youssif Latif Jarallah, Francesco Teresi, Crocetta Canta, Felice Melluso
Italy 2008 120’

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