Contemporary Migrations: Destination Europe: Block Museum - Northwestern University
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Contemporary Migrations: Destination Europe

Contemporary Migrations: Destination Europe

Event Details

Date & Time:

Wed April 13, 2016 - Wed May 11, 2016


The Block Museum of Art
40 Arts Circle Drive
Evanston, IL 60208


Open to the public


The films Mediterranea, Buen día, Ramón, and Welcome tell stories of the recent wave of migration from all parts of the world to Europe and the reactions of Europeans to the arrival of refugees and migrants. Featuring multiple languages and using both narrative and quasi-documentary styles, these films follow migrants as they move through numerous countries, facing multiple linguistic and cultural challenges. Collectively the films bring to the fore questions of who is a migrant, who is a refugee and what are our responsibilities as we learn about the underlying persecution, torture and violence that prompted their journeys to Europe.

This series is co-organized by the Forum for Languages and Cultures and the Center for Forced Migration Studies and is co-sponsored by the departments of French and Italian, German, Spanish and Portuguese and the International Studies Program.


Wednesday, April 13, 2016 6:00 PM FREE
(Jonas Carpignano, 2015, Italy/France/USA/Germany/Qatar, DCP, 107 min.)

Jonas Carpignano’s striking feature-film début follows two friends from Burkina Faso who cross the Sahara, and then the Mediterranean, in search of opportunity and a better life in Italy. Ayiva and Abas soon discover that things will not be easy in their new home: poor living conditions, exploitative work, and prejudice towards immigrants are the rule. Carpignano’s handheld camerawork and close framing captures the confusion the men experience in this strange land. Mediterranea is a stark look at the gulf between hope and reality. Many of the scenes are adapted from experiences of real-life immigrant Koudous Seihon, who gives a standout performance as Ayiva.


Buen día, Ramón

Wednesday, April 27, 2016 6:00 PM FREE
(Jorge Ramírez Suárez, 2013, Mexico/Germany, BluRay, 120 min.)

A twist on the usual European-immigrant story, Buen día, Ramón is a heart-warming film of a young man who travels to Germany not from Africa or the Middle East, but from Mexico. Unable to make his way into the U.S., Ramón decides to go to Germany in search of the aunt of a friend. Unable to find her, his situation threatens to become desperate until he meets Ruth, a retiree who takes Ramón under her wing. A hit in Mexico, Buen día, Ramón is a charming and affirming tale of an unlikely friendship.



Wednesday, May 11, 2016 6:00 PM FREE
(Philippe Lioret, 2009, France, 35mm, 110 min.)

17-year old Bilal is a Kurdish refuge determined to reunite with his girlfriend, who has emigrated to England. His trek across the Middle East and Europe comes to a halt in Calais, France, where he is stopped both by the authorities and by the English Channel. At a loss—he can’t swim and has no other means across—Bilal meets Simon, a local swimming coach who is having difficulties of his own. The two bond, and their friendship becomes pivotal for the challenges each of them faces. A “compelling, finely balanced immigration drama.”—Steven Holden, New York Times

Contact The Block Museum of Art for more information: (847) 491-4000 or email us at