The short film "Love Without Reason" is, on the one hand, a love story during the war in Syria, but it's also a story of someone being helped as they flee the war in search of a better future. For Majid, a 15-year-old Syrian migrant who now lives in Italy, "love without reason" is the guiding principle behind his story of escape and courage, as well as his desire to live and to dream.
The short film by Rome-based production company Maiora Film starts in the Eternal City. That's where Majid arrived from the Greek island of Lesbos together with Pope Francis, who brought him and about 20 other refugees back on a plane after a visit in April 2016. Majid dreams of becoming a rapper and immediately becomes passionate about the Italian language and culture. After meeting other rappers in the Italian capital and making friends with Italians and other refugees, he decides to write the track "Love Without Reason". Its message is that true love is without reason, asking nothing of you and giving everything to you.
A 'normal dream' is the 'true victory of integration'
The work is "reality cinema, with a strong narrative thread", the film's director, Paolo Mancinelli, told ANSA. He said the short film will eventually be turned into a full-length documentary. The idea came from a meeting with the Italian Language and Culture Centre at Rome's Community of Sant'Egidio, where Majid was taking classes. "It's a special place because you can concretely experience what's talked about in politics - 'integration' - which sometimes seems like an artifice," Mancinelli said.
The short film won the jury prize in the Migrarti competition sponsored by the Italian Culture Ministry at the 74th Venice Film Festival. It is a "training diary" made with an ironic and lighthearted style while facing difficult topics such as migration and integration. Mancinelli said the film is the story of "a boy who has a normal dream, just like many other boys, that of becoming a rapper" and that's "the true victory of integration".
Cinema is 'drop that changes the sea'
"The last time I was at the sea was when the boat I was on was sinking," says Majid in the film, during a trip to the sea with friends. Dramatic images of migrant boats flash on the screen, along with the tears and the struggles of the migrants, but then Majid remembers that he's alive and he made it and that he has dreams to achieve.
Mancinelli said Majid is a "teen who saves himself from the waters where he risks death to reach Lesbos" and he has a "sense of debt" for those who helped rescue him that shows in "a great sense of restitution and desire for integration". This desire "found its answer in civil society, freeing up wonderful energies that are also good for our young generations", Mancinelli said. "Migrants are a resource, I've seen it with my own eyes," he said, calling the story of Majid "a drop that can change the sea". Mancinelli said in this respect, cinema is a tool "to enter into complexity and explain it in a simple way" by telling about "people, encounters, and stories that go beyond the numbers".