The African Film Festival’s 43rd editionbegins with the “Viaggiatori & Migranti” (Travelers & Migrants) section, a block of screenings that began on March 21 and will run through Sunday, March 24Each year, the Verona-based festival organizes film screenings to create multiple themed blocks. The “Viaggiatori & Migranti” part, in particular, is one of the activities of the “International Week of Action Against Racism” supported in Italy by UNAR (National Anti-Racism Office).

Following the first displays in March, two more highly anticipated events—the short film festival “Africa Short” in June and the learning-centred “Educational” event in November—are planned. Every event starts at 9 p.m. in Cinema Santa Teresa, and there will be a special guest each night. Tickets cost 6 euros, or 4 euros for students and those over 65.

“Viaggiatori & Migranti” weekend’s program

On Saturday, March 23, the scheduled screening is Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous, a film by Wissam Charaf set in modern-day Beirut. Ahmed, a Syrian refugee who is struggling to find a job because of prejudice, and Mehdia, an Ethiopian migrant domestic servant living in near-slavery conditions, live their love story. They decide to quit Beirut in a desperate attempt to leave everything behind, but Ahmed’s health condition deteriorates and his body gradually alters, expelling a weird ferrous powder that coats his right arm.

Dirty, Difficult, Dangerous blends romance and social denunciation by depicting the narrative of two young people who have no future but also have nothing to lose. In 2022, the film Locarno won the Label Europa Cinemas Award for Best European Film and inaugurated the Venice Days at the 79th Venice Film Festival. The evening’s featured guest will be educator Amal Mima Karam.

Swiss director Caterina Mona’s film Semret will take the screen on Sunday, March 24. Semret is a single mother who works in a hospital in Lugano, Switzerland, and studies in the evenings to be accepted into a midwife training program. She tries everything she can to provide a better life for her teenage daughter, Joe, so that she never has to go through what Semret did in Eritrea. To forget the past and protect her daughter, Semret suppresses her memories and avoids telling Joe about her time in Eritrea.

But when Joe starts to ask questions, she knows she can no longer hide her past. With the assistance of Yemane, an Eritrean refugee working as a janitor, she is finally ready to confront the sad memories of her escape. Jessica Cugini, a journalist from the Nigrizia Foundation, will attend the film screening as a special guest.