Looking for Kadija
HD - colour
festivals & awards:
After the Italian army is defeated in North Africa, a cavalry officer, Amedeo Guillet, takes charge of the local resistance movement in Eritrea against the English army. He’s assisted by Kadija, the lovely daughter of a local tribal chieftain. Over fifty years later, an Italian film crew comes to Eritrea to make a film about this marvelous tale of love and heroism. The casting call to find the star of the film becomes the occasion to become acquainted with the situation, and the hopes, of a country cut off from the rest of the world for twenty years by its military dictatorship, as seen through the eyes of the young would-be actors and their families.
Looking for Kadija recounts a heroic love story, and for me as a documentary filmmaker it’s also an act of faith. Amedeo and Kadija were a story waiting to be told, a timeless, archetypal tale, where all the human passions mix and merge and give rise to two extraordinary characters. The young Italian man’s sheer vitality, and his yearning for the absolute, encounter the obstinacy and audacious purity of the loveliest of Eritrean women, and he falls in love – how could it be otherwise, really? The pair is united and ultimately separated by the horror of war and the fatal course of human events. It’s two films, even three: not just a love story but also a meditation on our colonial past, and indirectly an inquiry into the root causes of illegal immigration. Plus the dream, the glorious dream of film, which still casts its spell on young women who are fighting daily to forget the terrible hardships of their own lives.