“Eight Steps” by Anna Seviroli (2022)
How hard can the life of an immigrant be? The dramatic and frustrating sensation of feeling different, of being negatively labeled as a foreigner by unfamiliar and inquisitive gazes, often coincides with the incompatibility of moving within a completely foreign environment, detached from one’s country of origin. The shadow of prejudice hovers silently, but the terror of being excluded, of even being persecuted, is a concrete fear and can cause irreparable trauma, especially during the delicate childhood period. This is what Anna Seviroli describes with her short film Eight Steps, in which we can observe, immersed in the placid silence of still and evocative shots, fragments of the everyday life of little Nageth, an autistic child, and her mother Amira.
Waking up from the night’s torpor, getting dressed, eating breakfast, hanging out the laundry: simple, habitual actions, “small steps” that seem to repeat themselves in the routine of an ordinary morning. Instead, appearances are deceiving, because the ordinary reality recounted by the director turns out, on the contrary, to be extremely difficult to deal with. The initial linearity of a safe and comfortable environment is contrasted with a chaotic – and allegorical – journey through everyday life, in which a mother finds herself bravely confronting poverty, struggling against preconceptions, just to preserve the candid innocence of her child, still unaware of the arduous future that awaits her.
When progress struggles to come along comes the fear of feeling inadequate; yet, when all certainty is lost, even a simple smile can give one the strength not to give up, to pick oneself up, to continue on one’s way. How it all began: hand in hand, one step at a time.
– Emidio Sciamanna