Documentary in Europe

WALKABOUT? selected for the match-making session at Documentary in Europe, Bardonecchia

documentary project by Patrizia Monzani

estimated running time: 52'
shooting format: DV

By the Australian aboriginals there is a temporal dimension, which is suspended between the present and the mythical time of the creation, during which the ancestors have expressed (=created) everything through songs, gestures, words. The aboriginals retrace the ways of the mythical beings - the ancient “Ways of the Songs”, which are visible only to their eyes - repeating the words and the sounds of the ancestors who, during interminable travels through an empty desert continent, made the world exist by singing it. Every stone, every source, every water point, spot of eucalyptuses, represents a concrete trace of a sacred drama: the all continent can be read like a musical score. Things only exist when they are perceived and named. Still today, every baby inherits one section of song for birth’s right. Its strophes are an inalienable private property and they delimit its territory. It has the right to lend them along one “way of the song” and to acquire the right of passage from its neighbors, receiving aid and hospitality. The man who leaves in walkabout (the ritual travel) walks and sings the strophes of its ancestors, without changing neither a word, neither a note. In this way he re-creates the Created. By naming it, he makes the world exist, naming it, he orients himself in the world.
When I read for the first time what the walkabout of the aboriginals is, I immediately thought of me, living in different countries and different towns. I thought of the meaning that I give to the places I have lived in, of the reference points I’ve found there and then lost, of the languages I’ve learned, of terms, words and meanings which bundle in the mind, confusing and enriching the ability to express myself. In the same way the places, the cities, the memories, the ways are overlapped in my memory. How do I orient myself? Where am I going? How coming back? And where to? Is this kind of travel also a ritual one?

The idea is to realise a documentary about a “new” kind of emigrants: those who leave for a short period, and then decide not to go back or postpone the decision from year to year, without being able to explain why. Young well-educated people move and then move again and again, without getting younger.
Like me: I left Italy for a six-month university exchange and stayed more than 4 years in Paris, than I moved to Chemnitz, in Germany, and three years ago to Berlin. What happens to our roots, to our lives, in our interpersonal relationships? Has a new social status been born, is it what this new Europe wishes?
When can we speak of integration and what does it mean? The fact of being a foreigner seems to grant more freedom, but non-integration is the other face of that freedom… I think that it is fundamental to ask ourselves which kind of changes, in the lives of people and in our society in general, are brought about by this new emigration flux; which kind of integration and enrichment turn out, in terms of thought and culture.
In order to inquire into the various modalities of living in a foreign country, I’ll not just collect and document different experiences, but moreover express them in a visual way. I intend to underline the common feelings the characters have about some places, towns, periods of their life, even if they lived in different countries, and they have taken different decisions about leaving, going back or staying where they are (decisions that of course are never definitive ones); but I’m also going to differentiate their worlds and visions of the world in a stylistic form. Places, cities, houses, objects will be present in the interviews and in the filmic narration, but always filtered through the character’s eyes.

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