Volume 10, Issue 1
  • ISSN: 1474-2756
  • E-ISSN: 2040-0578



This article examines the documentary video essay Sudeuropa (2005–2007) by Raphaël Cuomo and Maria Iorio, which focuses on undocumented migration in Southern Europe, in particular the Sicilian island of Lampedusa. Since the late 1990s, the touristic island of Lampedusa has become a major crossroad in transnational migratory routes across the Mediterranean, where the material effects of border securitization and militarization are heavily felt. Sudeuropa underscores the interdependency of seemingly unrelated mobilities: undocumented migration, tourism and journalism. It reveals the significant role of migrant labour in the development and maintenance of tourism by focusing on migrant workers involved in the hospitality industry. In this article, Sudeuropa is analysed in relation to theories of essay film. The genre of essay film, which has been recognized as a distinct form of film-making since the 1960s, provides a highly productive and politically revealing understanding of the dynamic between migrancy and visuality. Essay film has been described as a genre in between documentary and fiction, suggesting the fluidity and indeterminacy of its aesthetic and political qualities. Sudeuropa calls for a reconsideration of the genre, because it plays with fact and fiction, poses problems without answers and is profoundly self-reflexive.


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  • Article Type: Article
Keyword(s): (im)mobilities; essay film; hospitality; Lampedusa; migrant labour; video art
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