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Displaced. Fragments in the diaspora

Alex Méndez Giner



An immigrant, descendant of immigrants. This is my lament. My attempt at
understanding. Absurd historic recurrence.

Director’s Statement

I am a descendant of immigrants who became an immigrant myself. Half of
my family fled Spain during the Spanish Civil War, arriving in Venezuela just
after World War II. I grew up with a grandfather who impressed upon me
the importance of Spain as our Motherland. Now I find myself repeating
my family’s story, but the idea of a Motherland is not clear anymore.

I have experienced firsthand what it means to be an immigrant.
I belong to the so-called “Venezuelan Diaspora,” often defined as the voluntary
emigration of millions escaping the Bolivarian Revolution regime. During the
long years of political oppression and economic failure under president
Hugo Chavez, Venezuela became a monumental airtight cell, where we all
slowly began to asphyxiate.

Without initially realizing it, I became a pawn on history’s chess board,
relegating my “personal process” to a series of moves in a larger historical game.
In my journey I was welcomed in the US and in a way, granted a sort of
reincarnation in life. These years as an immigrant have given me a new
perspective about migratory processes.

In 2014, I began to develop a video project that would explore immigration
issues from an intensely personal perspective. While I recognize that every art
work is to some degree political, my idea was not to produce a documentary about
immigration and immigration policy in the U.S.—far from it. My goal was intimate:
to explore my observations, experience and feelings as an immigrant today.
The project takes the form of a poetic experiment. In the piece, I explore my
recent experiences of constant movement between distant geographic spaces,
from Venezuela to the US, to Italy, Thessaloniki, Colombia, Laos and beyond. I
attempt to understand my thoughts and feelings as an immigrant. This process
began long before I was born and constantly brings me to the words of Brazilian
writer Paulo Emilio Salles Gomes in his essay “Cinema: A Trajectory within
Underdevelopment” (1973):

“Not European, not American. Having no original culture, nothing is foreign to
us because everything is foreign. Our painful self-creation develops between
the rarefied dialectics of not to be or being other.”

Through this project I have discovered that home is a fluid word and belonging a
state of mind.

Biographical Note

Alex Mendez Giner is an award-winning filmmaker whose work defy the
boundaries of storytelling, exploring complex stories at the intersection of
subjective experience, reality, and the marvelous real. His films have been
screened at prestigious international festivals such as Clermont-Ferrand
Film Festival, Interfilm Berlin, Milan International Film Festival, Viña del
Mar International Film Festival, Bilbao International Film Festival, Durban
International Film Festival, and others. He has been honored with the Audience
Choice Award from the Shanghai International Film Festival and has been
guest artist at multiple institutions around the world. His professional practice
combines constant film production with film teaching at Syracuse University.