Belgium first. The UK now. Italian immigrants have changed their country of residency but not their desire to leave.
‘From Sulfur to Coal‘ and Influx. Europe is Moving: the two documentaries on Italian emigration by Luca Vullo will be screened and discussed on 25 May at the University of Westminster. (The screening of Influx will be a preview of the full version which will be released on 22 June at Genesis Cinema).
‘From Sulfur to Coal’ is based on the historical emigration of Italian miners to Belgium at the end of World War II, while ‘Influx’ reveals the perspective of well-established Italian immigrants to London in recent years.
“The two waves of immigration, to Belgium and to London, are very different”, says Dr Federica Mazzara, senior lecturer on Intercultural Communication at University of Westminster, who organised the screenings and will chair the following Q&A. “The miners who went to Belgium were moved by real hunger, by despair. The documentary is extremely moving. They were treated like slaves in some cases. Today a different kind of people arrive to London, with a completely different social background. They have been educated in Italy, they have ambitions. As they could not fulfill their ambitions in their home country, they decided to move to London. In Italy it seems that if you are ambitious you are a nuisance, in London it’s the first, necessary step to climb the social ladder”.
What will happen to this immigration wave if the UK leaves the EU? “I’m very worried about it. Will we need special permits to work? I have to idea what can happen, but the European workforce here is huge and I cannot imagine London without the European-Londoners. Both the documentaries are extremely important in a moment when immigration is continuously debated in politics and I hope many Brits will see it before the referendum’.
The screenings will take place in Room UG05, Regent’s Campus, 309 Regent’s Street, University of Westminster on 25 May at 6pm. The event is free and open to the public.