DOPO NOTTE ALBA
Full-length video documentary, color, sound, 20:02
The following is a short excerpt from the 30-minute documentary. The film explores the re-appropriation of Islamic refugee crises from the perspectives of two different generations of the largest immigrant population in Italy: Bangladeshis.The first considers the current situation in the region of Lazio, in regards to the struggle of the Bengali diaspora to Italy (with the demographics most heavily seen across Rome, Venice, Milan, and Florence, respectively) after domestic strife in Chittagong during the late 80s, and during Italy’s most prominent years of immigrant-acceptance among European nations. The imagery in the film describes the current status of Bangladeshi immigrants: the phase of adaption, and contextualising how one currently adjusts to life in Italy by assuming the position of vendor, street merchant, chef, waiter, and performer whether legally or illegally, and through quota or joint, community entrepreneurship.The second perspective– the dialogue– considers being a refugee specifically during the leading months to the Bangladesh Liberation War while being in West Pakistan in 1971.The dialogue is narrated by the daughter of the former Diplomat of Bangladesh, upon its birth after Independence.
Throughout the film, the settings take place in major markets, neighbourhoods, and streets that not only Bangladeshis have come to occupy in Rome, but also, have historically become home to diverse ethnic groups: some examples of these areas include the Burgata (peripheria), Pigneto, Campo dei Fiori, Porta Portese, communities near the MAAM (Museo dell’Altro e dell’Altrove di Metropoliz), Trastevere, Testaccio, and major tourist sites in the center of Rome such as the Piazza della Rotunda in front of the Pantheon.
Today, approximately 150,000 Bangladeshis (formerly known as East Bengali Muslims) occupy Italy, with the majority based Rome. Of these 150,000, about 70% are middle-aged (young and late 30s) men while the other 30% include women.Gathered from interviews from both Italians and Bengalis before making this film, Bengalis have claimed Italy to be “one of the most hospitable among most European countries” in offering jobs at an “acceptable income” and in being a country whose security has once been “unusually lax.” This additionally contributes to the large exodus of Chinese, African, and Middle Eastern groups also living in Italy.Italian employers claim that they knowingly hire Bangladeshis, often times illegally, in benefitting from having to pay low (or bargained) salaries Bangladeshis are willing to work for (compared to other ethnic groups) since the currency conversion results in major profit value when sent back home in accumulations.About 60% of the profits are sent back to families (women and children) in Bangladesh, while the other 40% supports living in Italy.
With support of the David R. Bean Prize in Fine Arts