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THOSE WHO GO THOSE WHO STAY

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This post is also available in: Italiano (Italian) Deutsch (German)

by Ruth Beckermann

grade: 7.5

With a simple and essential directorial approach, Ruth Beckermann’s Those who go Those who stay is a rich and colourful documentary, in which human beings are always put in the foreground and sincerely and reverently observed in all their wonderful diversity.

All the colours of the world

A great observer of the world we live in, but also one of the most important names in contemporary Austrian cinema, Ruth Beckermann. Fresh from the success of Favoriten, her most recent documentary, which had its world premiere at the Berlinale 2024 and in which the life of a multi-ethnic class in a primary school in the Favoriten district was closely observed, the filmmaker from Vienna had already taken an interest in the multitude of cultures that populate our everyday life. Particularly interesting in this regard is the documentary Those who go Those who stay, which was made in 2013 and in which, through a long journey through Europe and the Mediterranean, we get to know certain realities more closely.

As is usual in her documentaries, in Those who go Those who stay Ruth Beckermann makes her presence felt both through her voice, which from time to time interacts with the protagonists, and also in front of the camera. And so, this long journey begins in Paris, and then continues to Sicily, Prato, Egypt, Israel and Vienna. During this important journey, the director had the opportunity to meet people from every corner of the world, many of whom told her their stories, their dreams, their problems, while sometimes the camera simply stopped to silently and respectfully observe each one of them during their daily lives.

Some men chat in a Viennese pub, while in Italy some children are busy with their play and, from time to time, look curiously at the camera. And while three women wearing veils struggle to cross the street in Alessandria, a young Nigerian boy who has just arrived in Lampedusa explains to the director that he would like to stay and live in Italy also because of his great passion for football. Those who go Those who stay tells us about each of them. We often do not know the names of the protagonists, but we immediately get the impression that we have known them for a long time.

Ruth Beckermann does not stay long in each of the places she visits. But this is nevertheless a well-considered choice, since, as we can already guess from the title, what this documentary wants to show us is first and foremost the transience of certain situations, the constant travelling of those who have had to leave their homeland and are constantly searching for their place in the world. Those who go Those who stay tells us precisely about this continuous wandering similar to what Theseus experienced in the labyrinth before he succeeded in killing the Minotaur, just as a caption at the opening of the film indicates. And so, with a simple and essential directorial approach, what we witness is a rich and colourful documentary in which human beings are always put in the foreground and sincerely and reverently observed in all their wonderful diversity.

Original title: Those who go Those who stay
Directed by: Ruth Beckermann
Country/year: Austria / 2013
Running time: 75’
Genre: documentary
Screenplay: Ruth Beckermann
Cinematography: Johannes Hammel, Peter Roehsler, Ruth Beckermann
Produced by: Ruth Beckermann Filmproduktion

Info: the page of Those who go Those who stay on iMDb; the page of Those who go Those who stay on the website of Ruth Beckermann; the page of Those who go Those who stay on the website of the sixpackfilm