Ciambra
23 November 2017

The Ball

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The Ball (Balon)

The Ball (Balon)

original title:

BALON

directed by:

screenplay:

cinematography:

production:

country:

Italy

year:

2017

film run:

94'

format:

HD - colour

aspect ratio:

1:2.39

status:

Ready (19/10/2017)

festival & awards:

Amin is a boy about ten years old who loves football and lives in a village in the north of Nigeria.
One day, Boko Haram militants burst into the village, burning the houses and killing Amin's parents and brothers. He manages to escape with Isokè, his sister, and the two start a journey into the unknown with a sole, far away destination: Europe.
They cross the desert, risking their lives in several occasions. At last, they reach Libya, where they are captured and imprisoned. They stay there for more than a month, working as slaves in a greenhouse, until they find a spot on a boat. However, a violent storm rages during the night...

DIRECTOR'S NOTES:
I have not found this story in a bottle. I was told it by a boy who I met in a Reception centre for unaccompanied minors in a town in eastern Sicily.
I am not a reporter, I do not feel obliged to reproduce faithfully the events, and so feel free not to believe me. But, please, do not take me as an impostor because, unfortunately, these things do happen. We cannot shut our eyes, make excuses because, as the singer-songwriter Fabrizio De André said, "even if we are dead, we will all be involved".
We are living in times of crisis, not just economic, but also a crisis of ideals and values. We do not know which way to go, we are lost as we watch things happening around us — without understanding their meaning.
I am a filmmaker and I live in Europe, in the most southern part of the continent. I live in Sicily, an island, the gateway to the western world for those coming from Africa. Every day, when the sun rises, as it rains or the wind blows, the sea brings pain, misery and fear to our costs; not to mention all the people who drown and are dragged into the deep waters. They are fathers and mothers, brothers and sisters, children with bewildered eyes fleeing from wars, hunger, persecution and poverty.
Therefore, I am wondering what kind of film I should make to tell my son that it's useless to close one's eyes, have fear, build walls, dig trenches and use barbed wire fences.
Every single day we hear from the news of yet another shipwreck, we see men, women and children getting off the ships of the Italian Navy. We see nameless coffins lined up on the docks. These images are so real, powerful and poetic that no film could ever explain them. However, these are also images that get lost and confuse with other utterly insignificant images, which we are daily exposed to while sitting around the table for dinner, tired after a day of work.
Despite this large amount of correct information, what we are still missing is an epic tale. We need a story that helps us understand the origins and the reasons of this awful tragedy.
As it already happened in the past with neorealism, I believe we need a story told not just by a mere journalistic, documentary-like point of view. Instead, we need to delve deeply into the lives of the migrants and refugees to understand what drives them to risk not only their lives, but also their children's lives.