Geology of Separation by Yosr Gasmi and Mauro Mazzocchi is a film about the time of an asylum seeker, endless aimlessness interrupted by occasional battles with bureaucracy. Anticipation, wandering, loneliness. The main characters are Abderhaman who escaped from Libya and Laly whose origin is untold. Both have sought asylum from Italy and spend their time among their peers in a hostel near the French border.
The atmosphere of the movie is limbo, an indeterminate presence without a point of reference; getting lost in one’s thoughts, frustration and desperate attempts to get elsewhere – in this case, France. While watching Geology of Separation, one must surrender to the eventless stage of being in which the main characters are forced to live in. Long shots show them walking in the cities or landscapes without contact with the events around them. The hostel staff are educating the main characters harshly in Italian ways, and the state of Italy rejects them with decisions difficult to comprehend.
Gasmi and Mazzocchi combine the footage with intellectual talk about the wrongs of colonialism, but also the statements and poetic writings of Abderhaman. He explains that he is writing in order to remember but also so he would be able to forget what he has experienced. After all, as an asylum seeker, one has to write “their story” in any case to justify why they are in danger in their home country.
The director of the movie, Gasmi, also expresses herself poetically, and at the end, the film also turns into her story in a way.
Jaana Semeri (translated by Jenni Kaunisto)
The film won the DocPoint Helsinki Award at Biografilm Italia 2023. The prize was awarded by Sini Hormio, Head of Industry & Impact of DocPoint Helsinki Documentary Film Festival, to the best film of the Biografilm Italia Competition.
Directors Yosr Gasmi and Mauro Mazzocchi are present in the screenings of Geology of Separation on Wed, Jan 31 and Sun, Feb 4.