The film Influx, by Luca Vullo (pictured above), is a convincing testament that immigrants constitute a powerful force in the British economy. The documentary is an emotional analysis of the different waves of Italian immigration to London. It points out how Italians were treated almost like slaves 50 to 60 years ago, and how some of them persisted and found their spot under the sun – well, not quite, in London it rains a lot!
At the beginning, the film sustains that many Italian descendants across the globe claim the Italian passport in order to come to Europe (most specifically London and Berlin). Italians emigrated to the US, Latin America and other countries in huge waves in the last century or earlier. Emigration is an endless process. Many world metropolises have a ‘Little Italy’ district. When Italians decide to settle down in a foreign country, they do not constitute ghettos., they tend mingle into the new society instead.
Many of the Italians coming to London are sometimes naive and unprepared. Usually, young Italians do not have any work experience until they are 24 years old. Compared to the British population, Italians are already old to get into the job market. Young people who emigrate from Italy are often supported by their parents, but this financial aid can run out. If they do not find work quickly, this can become a problem.
Italians live in a constant stage of emergency due to their country’s turbulent economy and the continuous crisis. In a way, this makes them more easily adaptable to new types of work and job markets. They fill an significant gap that the British are often unwilling to fill: they are your cooks, your cleaners, your call centre agents, etc. They forget about their educational achievements and submit themselves to under-skilled jobs that do not require professional qualifications. The film also reveals that many Italians struggle to learn the language and are exploited at work.
On the other hand, the movie is also critic of the flakiness and boisterousness of Italians. Vullo describes with humorous cartoons that Italians can’t make a quiet, orderly queue. They are not proactive, and instead wait to be told how to act and behave.
Despite the bumpy ride, Influx is an optimistic tale about the Italian voices and faces that are now an integral part of London. By constantly filming the bridges and canals in the British capital, the film is a metaphor of a transitional period.
Influx is showing on Wednesday 22 June at 7.00 pm at Genesis Cinema as part of the CinemaItaliaUK programme in collaboration with EM Production. It will be followed by a Q&A with the director – just click here for more information. Watch a promotional trailer of the film below:
DMovies and the EU referendum
DMovies promotes thought-provoking cinema, and film as a transformational tool. We strongly believe that the UK is stronger in the EU. This country has embraced Italians for many generations, and they have made a very significant social and cultural contribution. Many organisations, communities and personal relations in London thrive on Italians, and these are now at stake. Let’s hope there is still room for Fellinean anedoctes: the EU ship must sail on!
The author of this article Maysa Monção Gabrielli is of Italian descent. She would like to dedicate this piece to all those voters who will decide if the United Kingdom will continue to be part of European Union, or not. As an immigrant who came to London five years ago holding an Italian passport, she will be affected by this decision. Yet she is not allowed to vote. So she makes a personal plea for our readers to vote “Remain” on her behalf. – click here in order to read her words in full.