The World Day for Cultural Diversity for Development and Dialogue, on May 21st, as established by the United Nations, coincided this year with the running of the first research programme at UNU-GCM, which focuses on Migration, Media and Intercultural Dialogue. Whilst work on this programme began in early March and is currently underway, the World Day for Cultural Diversity for Development and Dialogue was a timely moment to mark the relevance of our current research focus. With this in mind, UNU-GCM had the pleasure of screening the film Aguaviva (2005) at its office in the Sant Manuel Pavilion, followed by a question and answer session with the film’s director, Ariadna Pujol.
Set in a small village on the border zones of Catalonia and Aragon, this film tells the story of recent immigration to a rural locality that has suffered depopulation. In response to a call by the mayor for immigrants to come and inject new life into this village, various multi-national immigrants arrive to settle in the village, alongside the local ageing population and bringing with them the memories and cultures of their homelands. In a film that was shot in the course of a year, Pujol captures with great sensitivity plural aspects of cultural differences and the difficulties of adjustment for both locals and new arrivals, as this rural area undergoes the double impact of depopulation and immigration.
As many of the questions posed to Ariadna Pujol after the screening showed, Aguaviva is testament to how the medium of film and, in particular, the genre of documentary, can intervene in contexts of cultural difference to open a space for new perspectives and understanding.