Martina Melilli: My Home in Libya

One year ago good friend, producer Stefano Tealdi sent me a rough cut of what is now a finished film that has been screened in Locarno, Chicago and is in the programme of DOKLeipzig, that starts next week. I found my immediate email reaction from then and am happy to state that it lives up to, what it promised:

“This is going to be a great film! Really… It is original, surprising in style and it has several layers: The world of today. The world of yesterday – the grandfather is excellent as
is his parrot. And the director makes very good shots from the apartment. To be away from each other, long-distance, maybe not a love but then a true friend story. You see Tripoli as it looks today, beautiful it was and is and then you see closed doors and shops.

You can see that this is made by someone, who comes with another “visual approach”, hurra for that… “

Yes, it is different, far from mainstream, sketchy, including the search for making the film, collecting material from the past in Tripoli, family archive, notes, drawings and first of all the internet conversation with the Libyan Mahmoud, a conversation that overtakes the narration more and more; unfolding the desperate situation of the young man, who formulates sentences like “Libya is Hell” from the other side of the Mediterranean Sea. He can’t leave, she can’t go there.

But it is also history – about the Italians in Libya until Gadaffi came to power in 1969 and the grandparents and their children had to leave the country. Libya today, well what do we know, it’s ISIS and the Muslim Brotherhood and militias, we hear from Mahmoud. And wonderful images from the apartment of the grandparents, memories…

“Who is (not) missing something” is a question put in the beginning of the film. For this blogger, who is taking a lot of time of reorganizing family photos and papers right now, this sentence is quite relevant – my father was born in Buenos Aires, where my grandfather etc. etc. We all have these stories…

Italy, 2018, 66 mins.

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Tue Steen Müller
Tue Steen Müller

Müller, Tue Steen
Documentary Consultant and Critic, DENMARK

Worked with documentary films for more than 20 years at the Danish Film Board, as press officer, festival representative and film consultant/commissioner. Co-founder of Balticum Film and TV Festival, Filmkontakt Nord, Documentary of the EU and EDN (European Documentary Network).
Awards: 2004 the Danish Roos Prize for his contribution to the Danish and European documentary culture. 2006 an award for promoting Portuguese documentaries. 2014 he received the EDN Award “for an outstanding contribution to the development of the European documentary culture”. 2016 The Cross of the Knight of the Order for Merits to Lithuania. 2019 a Big Stamp at the 15th edition of ZagrebDox. 2021 receipt of the highest state decoration, Order of the Three Stars, Fourth Class, for the significant contribution to the development and promotion of Latvian documentary cinema outside Latvia. In 2022 he received an honorary award at DocsBarcelona’s 25th edition having served as organizer and programmer since the start of the festival.
From 1996 until 2005 he was the first director of EDN (European Documentary Network). From 2006 a freelance consultant and teacher in workshops like Ex Oriente, DocsBarcelona, Archidoc, Documentary Campus, Storydoc, Baltic Sea Forum, Black Sea DocStories, Caucadoc, CinéDOC Tbilisi, Docudays Kiev, Dealing With the Past Sarajevo FF as well as programme consultant for the festivals Magnificent7 in Belgrade, DOCSBarcelona, Verzio Budapest, Message2Man in St. Petersburg and DOKLeipzig. Teaches at the Zelig Documentary School in Bolzano Italy.

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