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Stop motion film about Italian migrants in Switzerland and France wins faith and cinema prize

Interdit aux chiens et aux Italiens beautifully tells the story of a poor migrant farmer family facing “ordinary racism” far from home.

AUTOR 5/Evangelical_Focus 05 DE MARZO DE 2024 11:17 h
A promotional image of the film Interdit aux chiens et aux Italiens.

An animated film about an Italian family landing as economic migrants first in Switzerland and later in France has been awarded with the French Croire au cinema award.

Interdit aux chiens et aux italiens (in English, No dogs or Italians allowed) uses the complex technique of stop-motion, in which objects are physically manipulated in small increments between individually photographed frames.

It tells a heartwarming story about the hardships of an Italian family leaving home to work in the construction of the Alpine Simplon railway tunnel in Switzerland.

Director Alain Ughetto “reconstructs the life of his grandparents, farmers from Piedmont born at the end of the 19th century”, says the synopsis of this film, first screened in 2022.

“Poverty forced them to move to Switzerland, where grandfather Luigi took part in the difficult construction of the Simplon tunnel, before returning to Italy. There, he and his wife raised a large family and went through difficult times: men were conscripted for the conquest of Libya and then for the First World War”. The story would later bring them to France, “where Italians were seen as valuable labour, and where their children eventually became naturalised French citizens”.


“A not-so-distant past” of European migration

The jury of Croire au cinema award said the film “creates a universal narrative that is generous, captivating, funny, tragic, moving and political. The not-so-distant past of his ancestors, farmers from Piedmont who came to work on building sites in France and Switzerland, is subtly echoed in topical issues such as immigration, exploitation through work, ‘ordinary’ racism, and the importance of solidarity and family ties”.

The members of the jury underlined the “great deal of tenderness and a sometimes caustic humour” of the film, “without ever watering down reality and by forcefully reminding us of the inalienable dignity of every human being”.

The Croire au cinema award was first created in 2021 by the Signis-Cinéma association, an initiative led by Roman Catholic film critics, to “single out a feature film for its artistic qualities and the values it highlights, such as peace, justice, forgiveness, solidarity with the most vulnerable, respect for human dignity and protection of the environment”.

In the last years, the prize has gone to La nuit du 12 by Dominik Moll, La terre des hommes by Naël Marandin, and Adam by Maryam Touzani.

Interdit aux chiens et aux Italiens had already won the Annecy Festival jury prize for best feature film, and the best animation film prize of the European Cinema Awards.


[title]One more year[/title]


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