MY NAME IS LI | LA PETITE VENISE
Almost like The Million by Marco Polo, but the other way round. From the Far East to the Venetian Lagoon, this time following not trade routes along which to explore and exchange goods, but the rather less alluring contemporary routes of emigration, for survival.
In this film by Andrea Segre, the young Chinese mother Shun Li is working in a textile workshop on the outskirts of Rome in order to obtain the papers she needs and bring her eight-year-old son to Italy. She suddenly has to move to Chioggia, a little island-town in the Venetian lagoon, to work behind the bar in a hostelry.
Here she meets Bepi, an ageing fisherman of Slavic origin, nicknamed “Il Poeta” (the poet) by his friends. This encounter is an escape from loneliness, a silent dialogue between cultures that remain different, yet no longer so distant. It’s a journey right into the heart of a lagoon able to act as the cradle, as the mother, of ever-changing identities. Yet the friendship between Shun Li and Bepi appears disquieting in the eyes of both the Chinese and the local community in Chioggia, and both stand in the way of this new road being built, perhaps because they remain fearful of it.
Many of the explosive issues linked with integration emerge from this delicate, poetic, softly-lit film, almost hidden away amid the silent mist that envelops the east of the Veneto in winter. This land is a testing ground: it has gone from poverty to significant wealth in just a few short years, and from a source of emigrants to a destination for immigrants.
With all the questions raised by the encounters and clashes between different identities, more evident than ever in a community that remains closed and closely linked to specific “family” and neighbourhood codes such as the age-old Clodia.
DIRECTED BY: Andrea Segre
SCREENPLAY: Andrea Segre, Marco Pettenello
CAST: Zhao Tao, Rade Šerbedzija, Marco Paolini, Roberto Citran
PRODUCED BY: Jolefilm, Aeternam Films
MADE WITH THE SUPPORT OF: Montura
YEAR OF DISTRIBUTION: 2011
AWARDS: David di Donatello 2012 – Best Actress Zhao Tao, LUX Award of the European Parliament, Bif&st, Bari 2012 - Franco Cristaldi Award for the best Film and Giuseppe Rotunno Award for the best photography director, Arco d’Oro for the best film at Est Film Festival, Montefiascone, Est Film Festival 2012 – Best film