The documentary film Redemption Song sings the song of redemption that the African Cissoko, dreams for his people and his land. Having arrived in Italy, Cissoko, a war refugee, becomes aware of the startling number of deaths caught in the wake of his Mediterranean crossing, brothers who have perished and who continue to perish at sea while taking the same migration route. Indeed, Cissoko finds himself elaborating on these thoughts while housed in a temporary shelter for immigrants, where he and others requesting political asylum are waiting an indefinite amount of time for documents that will allow them to have a life. The escalation of our protagonist’s awareness reaches its culmination in his observation of the extreme precariousness and subjugation, in its various forms, that his immigrant brothers often experience in Europe, where their living conditions are markedly different from what they once dreamed.
Cissoko, therefore, decides to do something to assuage his tormented soul. He will attempt to convince his young brothers to not emigrate in search of false dreams, but to act only with a free mind, aware of the risks and real difficulties awaiting them. So it is with a small video camera that he begins to film what to his eyes is alarming. Later, upon returning to Africa, he will project the images in schools and villages, hoping to contribute to an awakening of his people. And although a lack of political action regarding the issues is evident, our protagonist’s cry for solutions is not a political appeal.
Cissoko is “virtually” accompanied on his voyage by a few artists, the griot Badara Seck and the great percussionist Ismaila Mbaye, and by the living memory of Thomas Sankara. These figures bolster the emotive tone and provide the necessary support for Cissoko to be able to reiterate over and over to his brothers his invitation to put an end to internal conflicts, to unite and to emancipate Africa, working for its progress while not abandoning it to Western chimera. Eventually, our protagonist’s quest will take him to Brazil to pay homage to the descendants of slaves who, thanks to the unity they have achieved, have kept their African origins alive.
At the core of the documentary lies the awareness that what is first and foremost necessary is an internal emancipation capable of inciting each individual to fight for their own true essence. Therefore, it is also the evocation of slavery that Redemption Song deals with, making itself spokesman of the black universe which, still today, is certainly the greatest victim of this injustice. Nonetheless, the film does not succumb to the lament of a people, but rather incites reaction and inventiveness in the personal effort to take back one’s own life.
In the unadorned simplicity of the Quilombos, the echo of the ancestors’ fight for their freedom is undoubtedly heard. And it is this echo that Cissoko listens to like a melody. A song that he wants Africa to hear.
Redemption Song it has been recognized as being of Cultural Interest and is supported by the Italian Ministry of Cultural Heritage and Activities. It received a RAI CINEMA Recognition award and is sponsored by Amnesty International with the following motivation: "Redemption Song" is an absolutely original work, which stands out in a panorama very rich in documentary films on immigration. It speaks not only of leaving, but also of returning, and of voyage and discovery as primary and irrepressible desires of humankind.
Currently, the film is doing an important tour of festivals and presentations, being enthusiastically received and recognized, always making a strong impact at every showing, both in Italy and abroad. There are different reasons for that, but one I think is that in this time where Migration is a very topic issue, is important to follow an asylum seeker, Aboubacar Cissoko, in this articulate and fascinating voyage aimed at fostering empathy and overcoming discrimination, elements essential for establishing a real meeting between the world’s northern and southern hemispheres. The same was true of the showings in Africa, which is central to us, the authors’ interest. We would, in fact, like to see the film’s circulation throughout some African countries, on a tour aimed at heightening the awareness of young Africans who may be preparing to abandon their homeland and risk their lives. In this regard, with Link 2007's NGOs, we have recently presented the Redemption Song to the House of Representatives, so that it can become a tool for awareness-raising on long and articulated tours in West Africa.
FESTIVALS/ Screening/ Awards
2015 Visioni dal Mondo, Winner : Riconoscimento Rai Cinema
2016 13 Febbraio Proiezione/Evento a Ile de Gorée - Senegal
2016 Febbraio - Carovana di sensibilizzazione con l’OIM, Organizzazione Internazionale delle Migrazioni - Senegal
2016 3 Marzo - Festival Internazionale AfricaBamba - Dakar (Senegal)
2016 18 marzo - Presentazione del documentario al Museo MACRO - Roma
2016 22 marzo - Festival Sguardi Altrove - Milano
2016 2 aprile TAG / Tevere Art Gallery - Roma
2016 28 aprile - Auditorium Enzo Tortora - Milano
2016 5 maggio - Auditorium Fondazione banco del Monte di Lucca - Lucca
2016 9 giugno Other Movie Film Festival - Lugano
2016 10 giugno Rassegna Scambiamo il Mondo - Cinema Trevi - Roma
2016 23 giugno Giornata Mondiale del Rifugiato - Officine Babilonia - Cosenza
2016 28 giugno Festival Libero Cinema in Libera Terra, Festival di cinema itinerante contro le mafie. Con Don Luigi Ciotti - Casa del Jazz - Roma
2016 15 luglio al Romafrica Film Festival - Casa del Cinema - Roma
2016 20 luglio Rassegna Visioni Solidali - Palazzo Ducale -Sassari,- Clorofilla Film
2016 21 luglio Clorofilla Film Festival - Limonaia di Villa Strozzi - Firenze
2016 10 Agosto: Praia a Mare (CS) - Palazzo delle Esposizioni, nell'ambito della Biennale Riviera dei Cedri - Senza Frontiere. A seguire concerto dei Kidida
2016 18 Agosto: Joggi Avant Folk - Joggi (CS)
2016 20 Agosto: Manifestazione Tornare a Itaca - Grimaldi (CS).
2016 22 Agosto: Riace (RC) a seguire concerto dei Kidida
2016 23 Agosto: "Festival delle Migrazioni" ad Acquaformosa (CS) a seguire concerto dei Kidida
2016 17 settembre Harlem International Film Festival
2016 26 settembre Torino - Cinema Massimo
2016 14 ottobre Parigi - Ateliers Varan
2016 12-16 ottobre Festival do Rio - Rio de Janeiro
2016 20 ottobre Premio Tenco
2016 28/30 ottobre Festival Internacional de Cine in Patagonia
2016 19 novembre Visionaria (Evento Speciale)
2016 3 dicembre Festival di Cagliari
2016 15 dicembre - Giornata del Migrante - Liceo Montale a Roma
2017 17 Febbraio - Centro Studi Sereno Regis - Torino
2017 27 Febbraio - Accademia Albertina - Torino
2017 22 marzo - Lo straniero (convegno) - Torino
2017 28 marzo - Presentazione alla Camera dei Deputati - Roma
2017 2 aprile - Cinema in Famiglia - Firenze2017 12 aprile - Cinema Apollo 11 - Roma
2017 20 aprile - Proiezione Evento Ventimiglia/Dolceacqua
2017 29 aprile - Inaugurazione MyArt Film Festival - Cosenza
2017 18-27 luglio MIGRANT Film Festival - Puglia e Basilicata