An island in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, between North Africa and Sicily, with 5 000 inhabitants living on fishing and tourism mainly: that is Lampedusa.
And then there are the migrants, hundreds of thousands of them, embarking on overcrowded boats towards Lampedusa and the European continent.
Many of them pay with their lives, others arrive in poor condition, occasionaly “invading” Lampedusa like during the dramatic weeks following the Arab Spring in 2010.
SVT’s European correspondent Christian Catomeris covered these events, in Lampedusa as well as in North Africa. In this film he returns to tell the stories he didn’t have the time to cover as a news reporter.
The film tells the story of locals like the carpenter Francesco and the police officer Piera. They, like many other inhabitants in Lampedusa, have chosen to help and aid those refugees who have succeded in reaching their shores.
And on the other side of the Mediterranean, in the poor suburbs of Tunis, we meet the welder Ibrahim.
Despite an aborted boat trip to Europe, where many of his fellow travellers died, Ibrahim has got only one thing on his mind: to “burn”. That is Tunisian slang for leaving your country over the sea, most often in unsafe and overcrowded vessels, heading for the European continent.
Left behind in the Tunisian suburbs are children and women, mothers and sisters, mourning a beloved son, brother or husband.
”Back to Lampedusa” is a documentary about the tragedies that continue to unfold in the Mediterranean. But it is also a warm and hopeful film about ordinary Lampedusians generosity towards the desperate migrants, arriving from countries where they see no hope or future.