Refugee Migration in European Cinema



Year: 2021 Vol: 3 Number: 1


Migration has been an influential factor in the demographics, cultures, and politics of societies throughout history. Although migration to Europe following the industrial revolution was interrupted by the First World War, the Great Depression of 1929, and the Second World War, it gained momentum once again after the European
economy was restored following the Second World War. Migration movements have increased all over the world along with globalization and European countries have continued to be the number one destination for migrants
hoping for a more prosperous life and for refugees fleeing from war, conflict, and political oppression. Of course, every flow of migration has brought about many discussions but also paved the way for social change. In this regard, cinema is an important instrument where one can observe these discussions and the change. As a matter of fact, cinema bears witness to the changes and transformations of that day’s economy and politics and gives us an idea of that period.
The aim of this study is to analyze two different motion-pictures from European cinema made between 2008 and 2018 representing refugee migration in order to identify to what extent the challenges experienced by refugees are portrayed in cinema, how migrants are portrayed, and whether topics such as nationalism, racism, and xenophobia are addressed. In this context, the 2009 French production “Welcome”, and the 2011 Italian production “Terraferma” will be examined through content analysis and semiotic analysis.

Cinema, Migration, Migrant, Migration to Europe, Welcome, Terraferma