Over 85 percent of Europe’s recent refugees enter via the Mediterranean. Thus Italy, with nearly five thousand miles of coastline, is regarded as Europe’s “unguarded door.” This shift in status has altered and intensified long-standing regional divisions between Italy and the rest of Europe, as well as within Italy. While migration typically is charted in economic terms and is debated politically, the issues surrounding migration are registered culturally. Recent Italian cinematic portrayals of how Italy deals with the refugee “crisis” simultaneously reveal how Italy and Europe deal with each other.
Marie Orton, a professor of Italian at BYU, researches the cultural shift in Italy (and Europe) due to migration. Orton’s specialization deals with the artistic production of migrants in Italy.