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Andrea Segre • Director

“My main character is a reflection of Europe’s identity crisis”


- VENICE 2017: Director Andrea Segre talks to us about The Order of Things, a special screening at the Venice Film Festival

Andrea Segre  • Director
(© La Biennale di Venezia - foto ASAC)

The Order of Things [+see also:
film review
interview: Andrea Segre
film profile
, which has just enjoyed a special screening at the Venice Film Festival – and is set to hit Italian screens, courtesy of Parthenos, while French audiences will be able to see it thanks to Sophie Dulac Distribution – is being released in the wake of the Paris European Summit on the dire immigration situation. At the meeting, an agreement was discussed to systematise the model that Italy is currently testing in Libya – namely, outsourcing the borders by handing over the reins to African countries. “This agreement circumvents the verdict of the Court of Justice in Strasbourg, which condemned Italy for the refoulement of a number of immigrants to Libya,” explains the film’s director, Andrea Segre, whom Cineuropa met up with at Venice.

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Cineuropa: The film certainly had plenty of foresight, considering it talks about a government official who is tasked with looking into the illegal journeys from Libya to Italy.
Andrea Segre: Three years ago, when I began working on this film, I had no idea that the events involving Italy and Libya would have proceeded exactly how we have portrayed them, but sadly I suspected it. And I realised that what had already happened in 2008 could happen again – ie, that Italy would start refoulements of migrants to the detention centres in Libya. But we didn’t want to capitalise on current events, but rather make a film that would address this topic and help us to reflect on the things we are witnessing these days, as well as their consequences in the future.

The main character, Corrado, is caught in a contradiction between what he is being asked to do and his own conscience. Did you meet any people who do this job?
My co-writer, Marco Pettenello, and I met some real-life "Corrados" in southern Sicily over a period of many months, and we found them to be interesting from a human point of view, with a job that undoubtedly involves a number of ruthless elements. I think Corrado’s situation is the one many of us find ourselves in these days, at a time when certain forms of injustice seem to have metabolised. Corrado reflects Europe’s identity crisis in the face of the immigration dilemma. We are forgoing our principles by denying the rights of human beings outside our territory. Corrado is one of us, part of our social fabric; he is the person whom the majority of Italians would like to do his job properly. By meeting these policemen, I was introduced to a way of looking at things that was different from mine, but which had some crossovers.

What else did you do to make the film in such a realistic way?
We had to undertake a long research process to make the story authoritative. We didn’t meet the officials just to understand their human aspects, but also to understand what they did on a technical level. And we were happy when they confirmed that the film was accurate after they saw it. On the Libyan side, one of the actors in the film, Khalifa Abo Khraisse, was fundamental. In real life, he is a freelance video reporter from Tripoli, who told us the truth about society on the Libyan side. We then discovered things that we didn’t know about the detention centres, the Libyan police forces – things that, up until a few months ago, we didn’t know anything about and that now we only know scant details of. Almost all of the extras who fill the centre in the film have lived through that painful experience, and they therefore helped us to reconstruct some important elements.

There is French involvement through the co-production by Mact and Sophie Dulac, plus the participation of actor Olivier Rabourdin.
This lends the movie a greater European dimension. I remember the day Antoine de Clermont-Tonnerre told me, “At last, even our president is talking about Libya.” “It’s not true that Europe has left us on our own. It is collaborating on the refoulements through naval contributions and the training of the Libyan coastguard.”

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(Translated from Italian)

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