From the European South

a transdisciplinary journal of postcolonial humanities

Valigie. Oggetti, memorie e voci nel documentario italiano sull'Altro

Nicoletta Vallorani


Suitcases. Objects, memories and voices in Italian documentary films about the Other. In recent years, documentary filmmaking has sharpened its focus on the issue of migration, combining the techniques of reportage and the method of storytelling. My article looks at how some Italian filmmakers and visual artists focus on the representation of the Other, emphasizing the progressive loss of meaning and cohesion often experienced in the spaces of social living. The brand-new aspect of current nomadism, as Braidotti states, resides in the awareness that the act of uprooting marking the initial phase of migration does not relate to the ultimate re-grounding in a new home. It is my position that this loss of the hope of a new stability results in a particular attention to objects, that are no longer mere memories of the home the migrant has left behind, but become home in themselves, and metonymically translate the notion of the family shelter that the migrant can no longer have. From a selection of documentary films in the archive of Docucity. Documenting the Metropolis (, I analyse samples showing how the condition of the migrant in Fortress Europe has changed very quickly in the last few years and how the “metaphor of the suitcase,” mentioned by J. Loshitzky in her Screening Strangers, may represent an effective critical tool to understand the profile of the current postcolonial stranger.




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