Posted on Jul 15, 2019

Italian Migration Documentary: Exploring ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go’ by Nils Clauss and Thomas Horat

Migration has been a pivotal aspect of life in Calabria, Italy, shaping the destinies of individuals and communities for over a century. In this context, the documentary SHOULD I STAY OR SHOULD I GO, commissioned by Giulio Vita and Sara Fratini, founders of the La Guarimba International Short Film Festival, emerges as a poignant exploration of Italian migration. Filmmakers Nils Clauss and Thomas Horat, a Korean-German and Swiss duo respectively, bring a unique perspective to this narrative, creating a film deeply rooted in the community of Amantea and the broader region of Calabria.

A Collaboration in Calabria

Their collaborative venture began with an encounter at the La Guarimba International Short Film Festival in 2017. The festival’s mission, to bring cinema back to the people and people back to the cinema, resonated deeply. Nils Clauss and Thomas Horat, both invited back in 2018, laid the foundation for “Should I Stay or Should I Go,” marking their first joint endeavor rooted in the community of Amantea and the broader canvas of Calabria.

Migration and the Element of Return

Initially conceived to explore the phenomenon of return migration, the documentary’s narrative took an unexpected turn with the inclusion of Stanley Eboigbe from Nigeria. This expanded the scope, allowing the filmmakers to delve into the challenges faced by recent refugees in Italy, juxtaposed against the experiences of Italian migrants. The central theme of whether to stay or go gains new dimensions in a globalized world grappling with identity, belonging, and integration.

Embracing Diversity

Daniele Chiodo, Saveria, and Stanley, despite diverse backgrounds, find common ground through shared dreams and struggles. The documentary challenges the dichotomy of “Us” versus “Them,” revealing a shared human experience that transcends geographical and cultural boundaries. The emotional resonance of their stories adds depth to the exploration of migration, emphasizing the universal aspects of the journey.

Visual Storytelling

Inspired by the photographic styles of Jeff Wall and Stephen Waddell, the directors adopt a visual language that transcends traditional documentary storytelling. Stylized portrait shots, reminiscent of Wall and Waddell’s work, capture the essence of Italian emigrants and African refugees. The documentary opens with an Italian news reel from 1965. It shedds light on the unwelcome reception of Italian emigrants in Switzerland. This historical context sets the stage for a nuanced exploration of shame and xenophobia. These are themes that continue to echo in contemporary migration narratives.

Beyond Borders

“Should I Stay or Should I Go” transcends geographical and cultural boundaries, presenting a multifaceted exploration of migration. The interconnectedness of experiences, whether in Italy or abroad, challenges the notion of a linear migration narrative. The film goes beyond the personal stories of Daniele, Saveria, and Stanley. This is achieved through incorporation of a more extensive photographic portrait style. With this the film pays homage to the work of Jeff Wall and Stephen Waddell.

Impact and Reflection

As the documentary unfolds, it prompts reflection on the cyclical nature of migration. It highlight the challenges faced by both emigrants and immigrants, and the societal perceptions that shape their experiences. The film underscores the need for empathy and understanding in addressing the complex dynamics of migration. The filmmakers urge the viewers to question preconceived notions and foster a more inclusive dialogue.

In Conclusion

In conclusion, “Italian Migration Documentary: Exploring ‘Should I Stay or Should I Go'” offers a profound exploration of migration in Calabria, Italy. Nils Clauss and Thomas Horat’s collaborative effort brings to light the intricate tapestry of personal narratives, societal impact, and the evolving dynamics of migration. This thought-provoking documentary transcends borders. Through this viewers are invited to engage with the universal themes of migration. This allows them to reflect on the shared humanity that connects us all. Through the lens of La Guarimba International Short Film Festival, the film captures the essence of a specific region. But it also contributes to a broader conversation on migration that resonates globally.