Corpses and numbers: the portrayal of black African refugees in It Will Be Chaos by Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo


  • Aghogho Akpome University of Zululand



European refugee crisis, asylum seeker, migrant, refugee, Africa, representation


In this article, I provide a literary analysis of the award-winning 2018 documentary, It Will Be Chaos, to highlight the discursive significance of its portrayal of the black African refugees who survived the 2013 Lampedusa migrant shipwreck. The documentary by Italian filmmakers Lorena Luciano and Filippo Piscopo focuses on the turbulent journeys of African and Middle Eastern asylum- seekers through the Mediterranean Sea at a time that marks the beginning of the so-called European refugee crisis. Though I focus especially on one of the main protagonists, Aregai Mehari, who survived the shipwreck, I also consider a significant difference in the portrayal of Aregai and that of a Syrian refugee family who are the film’s other main protagonists. These representations, I argue, offer important clues for understanding the often problematic and unique ways in which the African refugee in particular, and Africa in general, figures in contemporary European imaginaries.


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