Before leaving my country, I fantasized a lot about the life I would have in Bremen. With a certain naivety, I thought that leaving a worn routine, jobs and habits that had left me exhausted and without energy, would represent a burst of vitality, a new electrifying beginning. I could not imagine that the exact opposite would happen: starting abroad would have meant, above all, losing consistency, experiencing a faded part of myself.
Translating myself into new languages, which often only scratched the surface of what I wanted to say, living with temporary companies of people, in a house that I knew was only temporary – all these things instilled in me a strong feeling of precariousness. And this feeling only amplified during my year at the Deutsches Tanzfilminstitut.
I do not deny it: I had the opportunity to take part in interesting projects. I travelled around Germany, watching, filming, editing dance performances that I could not have known otherwise. I met choreographers and dancers whose stories and poetics have been of great inspiration to me. I offered my creativity and knowledge for the production of short movies, and I have refined my technical skills, which will also be fundamental for my own films and projects. Despite this, I cannot say that I have found the most welcoming environment.
Unfortunately, TAFI people do not realize what it means to be away from home, without any certainty. None of them has ever experienced – or has not fully experienced – what it means to move elsewhere for necessity, with all the risks of the case. On the contrary, I often felt that as a volunteer, and as a foreigner, I had to prove my worth, that I deserved to be there. I was expected to work professionally, and every slightest mistake was experienced as a failure – perhaps indirectly, but the feeling was clear. I was expected to be always active and interested, but there was little or even no interest in me as a person. Many projects were not fully explained to me, and I was really involved in the activities as a mere workforce.
I often felt unnecessary. I have often felt like an actress on the wrong set, who knows nothing about the role she is supposed to play, and instead sees the people around her acting with confidence. And the only thing that kept me from disappearing, in all this uncertainty, was, without exaggeration, love.
The love of few true people – and of one in particular – was the real substance these months were infused with, the bond that held me together. They helped me to laugh at dramatic moments, they consoled myself and listened to me when I needed it. They were authentic sparks of joy that reinvigorated my hypotonic days (any reference to conversations between friends is not causal). It seems little, but it is actually a lot. I truly believe that we do not disappear because there is someone who can see us and understand us, even if only for brief moments.
I realized that filming, just like loving, means paying attention. It means to be open and to take care for what or whom you have in front of you.
I promised myself that I will never forget this lesson. I will never make anyone feel unnecessary, and if one day I will have some sort of power, I will never use it to make others feel less than they are. This is love for me: not an abstract ideal, but a concrete force, a daily act of interest. And this is all that matters to me – as an artist, and as a human being.