We did not set out to make a film "about” Mother.
After the initial conversation and the surprising opportunity to visit Italy with her, we knew that we became part of a much bigger story. Our subsequent journeys to Eritrea and Italy flow from the compelling brief autobiography of that remarkable and charismatic woman. Her enduring presence illuminates all twists and turns that follow. The film became a quest, shifting attention from mother to father, to daughter, bearing witness to what happened, with all the connotations of dispossession and migration, shattered and rebuilt lives, hostile politics and enduring ties, and the old as well as contemporary worlds we all inhabit.
Filming on the run, not knowing what will happen next, in the cramped living rooms, crowded markets and villages of Eritrea and Italy, we went wherever the events took us. The film attempts to sustain the spirit of discovery and tense anticipation we felt during the production process. After all, we were protagonists, as well as historians, ethnographers and filmmakers. The improvised, mostly handheld shots, without any opportunity to prepare, create an intimacy that brings the viewer along as if participating in events as they unfold.
The strictly chronological from, always in sequence, expands the story of two far-flung, multi-generational families (across North America, Europe, and Africa) and encompasses in its reach major issues of colony and post-colony, migration, civil war, racism, and the politics of independence and development.