Beyond the valley (first feature)

click on the images to download them in high res

Beyond the valley (Oltre la valle)

Beyond the valley (Oltre la valle)

original title:

Oltre la valle

directed by:






film run:





Ready (09/11/2023)

festivals & awards:

In a valley on the border between Italy and France, which has always been a land of transit, the lives of migrants and workers of a reception centre come across. Migrants try to cross the border and arrive in France, aware that they can be rejected at the border. The seasons come and go, the present and the past overlap, human trajectories unfold, suspended in the irreversible act of seeking a better space to exist.

Director's statement

My great-uncle emigrated to Argentina during the 1940s. I have never meet him, but the phone calls that came from the other side of the world, from his children and often during the holiday season, have always had a precious sound.
When my relatives remembered their memory, a component of struggle always emerged, the desire to find a path that could lead to a dreamed future, despite their words never openly declaring it. I also felt the presence of that inherited pain , somehow hidden, of those who slammed many times against a wall before they could go further. Of those who felt a little mistreated, only for the fact of imagining themselves elsewhere , and of having pursued the most definitive act, as if it were a foolishness.
It is strange how history, while repeating itself, is forgotten. For this reason, many years after those phone calls, in times when the barriers of the Mediterranean and the walls of Europe become increasingly high, we felt the need to stop, to photograph a place and the stories that go through it. But not to crystallize it, on the contrary, to grasp its crossing.
The period of observation took place at the Italian-French border, precisely in the Alta Val di Susa between Oulx and Claviere, a town on the Italian side of the Colle del Monginevro until the seventies cut in half by the border. It’s amazing how from here, France seems so close and so far at the same time. Its geography changes depending on the identity cards : it is only a few minutes for those who have a car and a European plate, or five hours of walk for those coming from the Balkan route. But it was only the first of a series of dichotomies that kept repeating, that shared that borderland scanning time and space: with the passing of the seasons, every year, the snow gives way to immense meadows, tourists and activists gravitate around the same chairlifts and golf courses, our past returns to the present of those who cross. The border, moves on a well-oiled mechanism, a dramatic carousel experienced by migrants themselves as a game of the absurd, so much is their habit to be rejected and to cross again the next day, risking their lives every time. Human encounter after human encounter, even the act of filming has been inserted into the banks of inevitable counterpoints: "I am in sympathetic with them, I am in solidarity, I’m helping and risking, the boundary between what can be done and cannot be done is very thin".
"I’m a migrant, and yet I can’t cross the border. But the border here... where exactly is it?" Perhaps the border is where there is the stone marker with the letters F and I, although sometimes it is hidden in the woods, and it’s difficult to see. Maybe it’s a little closer, where the gendarme walks. Maybe there never was, or it’s not a straight line.
Respecting the infinitive souls of this Valley, and at the same time wanting to tell objectively what was happening, implied a continuous search for balance and an incessant reinterpretation of reality. It’s a hover, like walking on a thin line.
The pandemic and the war in Ukraine have changed the balance again, so that we had to face new fragile and irreversible realities.
"Beyond the Valley" is a story seen with a kaleidoscope, in which the fragments, or pieces of the puzzle, want to portray a real world that seems abstract and far-fetched, where the mountains are still dominated by fortresses, and the old borders of the two kingdoms are contested in the reenactment of an ancient battle. Where the tunnels can be the gateway to the destination or can bringing again to the starting point. Where there is a refuge for migrants coming from another Europe, Africa and Asia, and an operator dreams of becoming something else, because basically, everything in our life can be in the making.