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Cinema, History & Politics


Farewell to Eden

November 7, 2023
6:30 pm

Farewell to Eden

(2019, Italy/France, 81 min.)
In English, Italian, French, Tagalog, Arabic
with English subtitles

Directed by
Enrico Masi

The director in conversation with
Alessandra Lancellotti, assistant director
David Forgacs, NYU
Giulia Sbaffi, NYU


A dark and mythological fable about a transgender person’s life in the urban underground where she has to constantly change shape to survive.

A portrait of European boundaries: while food and goods are able to travel across all frontiers, there are severe restrictions for human beings. Pepsi plays, in this documentary, the role of a 21st Century transgender version of Joan of Arc, putting her journey on a different scale, even beyond survival: standing for human rights, and the request for asylum of the most marginalized communities. She escaped the Muslim military camp she grew up in because of her homosexuality, worked as a nurse for over 10 years in Gaddafi’s Libya. Because of gender discrimination, she was forced to join the flow of refugees and has now stranded in Paris. Passing through an undefined international landscape she finds the strength to tell her intimate story which recalls the ancient myth of Europa. According to the myth, Jupiter in the form of a bull seduced a young woman Europa and sent her to an island in the Mediterranean. Shelter – Farewell to Eden is a triple leavetaking: from childhood, virginity and former colonial identity.

‘Shelter’ is a postcolonial fable, which – much like its anonymous protagonist – constantly changes shape between identities. 16mm film, analogue video and iPhone footage contribute to a phantom image of life in the urban underground.

Enrico Masi gained his doctorate at the University of Bologna. He founded the art and political collective Caucaso in 2004. After working at the University of Bologna as a filmmaker for scientific essays, his debut feature documentary The Golden Temple premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2012. Focused on post-modern and post-colonial dynamics, his main field of interest is connected to urban phenomenology, hybrid cinema and sound. Shelter is his second feature film.


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