Visuality and Migration: Two Crises in Gianfranco Rosi’s documentary “Fire at Sea”

Visuality and Migration. A video essay by Erik Scaltriti

I am very happy to announce the publication of my video essay and commentary [in]Transition issue 7.3

Can moving images narrate the migration phenomena without stereotyping it? Offering a site to explore the deep connection between the parallel crises of migration and Western visuality, “Fire at Sea” contrasts several media stereotypes on migration. However, I argue that it foregrounds a false contraposition between a humanitarian vision of migration and a state vision of it.

Thank you to all who supported this project and gave their feedback!

“The Bridge Master’s Daughter”: screening and discussion

With my colleague Estelí Puente Beccar of the Spanish and Portuguese Department, we are happy to facilitate the discussion with the director Elisa Stone of @noondayfilms . With Matthew Leahy, they dedicated years to produce their compelling documentary The Bridge Master’s Daughter. A must-see you can watch on Kanopy. Thanks to the Abya Yala Student Organization for the opportunity, and the Center for Latin American Studies at Ohio State for the support).


Immersive video: Bologna

Last summer, I was the co-resident director of the course “The Italian City” offered by the Department of French and Italian in Bologna. With our students, we shot 360° footage as a tool to help future students better understand what this study abroad experience in Italy looks like. Here, “Seeing Study Abroad From New Angles With 360 Video“, an article about this project.

Last September, we presented the six-minute video at the Education Abroad Expo at the Ohio State University. Do you want to catch a glimpse of it? Deep dive into it with your phone, tablet, desktop, or virtual reality goggles!

“Arrivederci Saigon”: screening and discussion

At the XV Symposium on the History of Social Conflict, Damiano Garofalo and I dialogued with the director Wilma Labate.

Arrivederci Saigon (“Goodbye Saigon”, 2018), a documentary which revisits the historical events of 1968 from a unique perspective. Le Stars is an Italian girl-only band of teenagers from Tuscany. In 1968, they receive an offer they can’t turn down, a tour in the Far East: Manila, Hong Kong, Singapore. They set off hoping for success but found themselves in the middle of the Vietnam war. Fifty years later, they tell the story of their adventure amongst American soldiers, remote jungle bases and soul music.

Italian Cinema(s) Abroad Conference

Panel: Italian Cinema in North America: Micro and Macro-Histories. Chair: Giuliano Migliori (The Ohio State University).

Competing or Collaborating? A Case Study of Postwar Relationships between Hollywood and Cinecittà through the Kiralfy Archive
by Erik Scaltriti

In the post-WWII era, Italian movie theaters were “invaded” by Hollywood productions, by “the full range of armament then available, from western to melodramas, from comedies to adventure and epic pictures” (Gian Piero Brunetta). Complicating this debated vision, the unexplored Kiralfy archive provides a primary source that challenges this idea of invasion. Conserved at The Ohio State Library, this small archive contains several micro-histories narrated by the personal files of Alexander Kiralfy, a white-collar worker of the Account and Statistic Department of Paramount International Film in New York. For example, the programs of the Thalia Summer Film Festival provide us a picture of Italian films circulation in New York, in the 1950s and the 1960s. I argue that the post-WWII era does not represent a period of commercial war between American and Italian film industries. Instead, it marks a new stage of the unbalanced cooperation between Hollywood and Cinecittà.

Digital Flagship

This semester, I am collaborating as fellow of the Center of the Humanities in Practice with the Student Success Iniziative Digital Flagship . My role as Inclusive Practices Analyst is to help ensure the ethical delivery of inclusive programming and content to students. In collaboration with the Ohio State Application Development teams, this research project aims to identify and mitigate the effect of implicit bias at the crossroad of Education and Information Technology.

38th Cincinnati Conference on Romance Languages and Literatures 2018

Panel Cinematic Representations of Sexuality, Marginalized Identities, and Migration. Moderator: T.E. Arce (University of Cincinnati). 4/6/2018.

The hybridity of Migration in Italian Contemporary Cinema: Crialese’s “Once We Were Strangers” (1997) and Rosi’s “Fire at Sea” (2016).
by Erik Scaltriti

Emanuele Crialese’s cinematography refuses the closures of genre or gender by its narratives which unfold between fantasy, open-ended narratives, and the reality of clashes and relationships. The academic investigation has largely addressed the major works of the Italian director, producing a rich literature of journal articles and book chapters. However, less critical attention has been paid to his debut film Once We Were Strangers (1997).

In this paper, I compare Crialese’s use of realist/imaginary strains to Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare, 2016). I argue that Crialese and Rosi do not step outside the Italian cinema tradition but develop their original narratives interweaving national and global perspectives. Blurring film genre’s borders, they both explore the nature of the Western gaze through hybrid representations of migration phenomena.

Website for the Migration Studies Working Group

Finally, the website I have created for our Migration Studies Working Group at The Ohio State University in online. The MSWG is an interdisciplinary graduate student-led organization founded in 2016. We aim to create an inspiring and productive environment for migration studies scholarship, crossing the academic borders of departments and disciplines.

All faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students enrolled at The Ohio State University may become members. You can contact us at Follow us on Twitter! @osu_mswg or click and visit our blog!

Partigiane: oral history and multimedia

Women are often marginalized in the stories of the Italian Resistance but they played a decisive role in the liberation struggle against Nazi-Fascism. Seventy years after the end of WWII, this project celebrates their contribution to the fight for freedom and democracy. They put their lives on the line to ensure a democratic future of a country morally bankrupt by twenty years of Fascism. We recovered some of their from the archives of the National Association of Italian Partisans (ANPI – Reggio Emilia section).

With the support of SPI-CGIL, we produced the documentary Esitere o Resistere? to collect some of their testimonies. Also, we produced a sticker album, a playful way to honor these women and connect younger and older generations, remembering not just exemplary episodes but the women who weren’t just waiting for the end of the dictatorship

Here, some of the stickers with the names of the partigiane (and sometimes their fighting pseudonyms).

This project was supported by many but a special thank you goes to Barbara Elisi (graphic design), Paola Guidetti (production coordinator), and Maria Nella Casali (SPI-CGIL Reggio Emilia).

Eclats of Africa

36 ‘, XdCam, Italy, 2012

Online the English (and shorten) version. Original title: Eclats d’Afrique

The Arab Uprising of 2011 through the voices and the images of the photographers who documented it. The faces of JR’s project “Inside Out” during the Tunisian Revolution. The Somalian civil war in the photos of Mohamed Dahir. The turmoil of Libya and Egypt in the work of the Italian collective CESURA LAB. With the participation of the photographers Mohamed Dahir, Sophia Baraket, Sonia Dourai, Gabriele Micalizzi, Andy Rocchelli and Luca Santese.

DVD © Quaderni di Boorea n.52, 2012 © Erik Scaltriti

Practicum in Translation: Subtitles Workshop at Colorado College 2014