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2015 High Falls Film Festival

Ritorni (Homecoming) – with Director Q&A

Directed by Giovanna Taviani

Italy / 2006 / Drama / 53 minutes mins / Italian with English subtitles


The Dryden Theatre at George Eastman Museum
Saturday, November 14, 2015 4:15 pm


Director Giovanna Taviani will conduct Q&A after the screening.

Documentary film that traces the experiences of  Maghred people living in Europe as the return home.. The return of people from Maghreb living in Europe to their lands of origin during the summer holidays and the study of the different points of view and meanings of these ‘homecomings’: an exodus to the opposite direction, an upside down trip in comparison with the desperate route that thousands of refugees make each year from the African coasts to our lands.


Director's Bio

Graduated in History of Modern and Contemporary Literature in 1994 and PHD in Science of Literature and Philological Disciplines in 1996.

A writer and University lecturer in Modern Literature, she has written on Luigi Pirandello and Pasolini. Since 1997 she has been an editor of the journal Allegorie and contributes to magazines such as Cinecritica and Eidos. She has directed some educational videos and is directing a video collection on literature and cinema, entitled Dal testo allo schermo, produced by G.B. Palumbo Editore, for which are already available the video on the films La terra trema by Visconti, Il Decamerone by Pasolini, and Un maledetto imbroglio by Pietro Germi.

Director’s Notes

The idea comes from an article I read last summer on the Italian daily La Repubblica, edition of the town of Palermo. The title was Ferie d’Africa (Africa Holidays) and it told about something that happen every year on the deck of Trapani, so close to Africa: hundreds of people from Maghreb, arriving from every part of Italy and Europe, queue under the sun to embark on the boat directed to Tunis to spend their holidays with their families of origin. Those are the ones who had success and every year go back home to tell about their European dream. 
What made an impression on me was the idea of an exodus to the opposite direction, an upside down trip in comparison with the desperate route that thousands of refugees make each year from the African coasts to die in our lands. But, first of all, I was curious of knowing the results of these home comings: what would have they found on the other side of the Mediterranean? How their mothers and the friends remained at home would have welcomed him? What would have they said about their new life in the Occident. I decided to follow closely some of these characters: I wanted to go back to their origins and discover, through them, a complex world, sometime contradictory, that I felt, at the same time, faraway and close, extraneous and familiar. A world threatened by Islamic fanaticism today and by European colonialism yesterday. 
I found the leading actor of the documentary: Karim Hannachi, from Tunis, teacher of Arabic in Ragusa, at the University of Catania, and responsible of the community of Maghreb in Mazara del Vallo. He is one of those every year take that ship to go back with his family, to his land of origin. Nefta, where his mother and sisters, his friends the teachers, his memories of his Arabian pupils and mainly the loneliness of his desert. I decided to follow with my crew his return trip, during which Karim evokes the returns, or ‘non-returns’, of others two big characters of Maghreb, much loved by him, and that like him made of the theme of ‘transplant’ their reason of life, further than of cultural research, and that, after having been crossed by Occident, are reflecting the cultural gap of distance. Assia Djebar, from Algeria, director and writer in French language, divided between France and United States, and Tahar Ben Jelloun, from Morocco,  French speaking and living in Paris. Three different kinds of returns and relationship with the land of origin: contamination (Karim), conflict (Djebar), homesickness (Jelloun). I was interested in investigating thoroughly the theme of exile and uprooting, but also of melting and transplant, of comparison  and hybridization between the races. But particularly, as I said, I was interested in telling about the trip of Karim. The stops of his trip beat the time of the documentary: from Sicily to Tunisia in a kaleidoscope of sounds and voices that goes from French to Italian, to Sicilian dialect, to the Sicilian-Arabic of the Tunisians living in Trapani, till the Berber of the mountains of Maghreb and to the silence of Sahara. 
Following with my crew the trip of Karim I would have tried to be absorbed in a ‘different’ world, but also to look at distance the North coasts of Mediterranean and the rough coasts of our Occident, in which I (and who knows how many others) often feel like a stranger and an everlasting migrant. 
Giovanna Taviani

Dates & Times


The Dryden Theatre at George Eastman Museum
Saturday, November 14, 2015 4:15 pm