By Camila Borrero, Pietro Cedone, Lucia Cosma, Sebastián Forero, Giovanni Rabuffetti, Ziqiao Xie


At the beginning of this project we explored some possible topics which would have allowed us to dive deeper in the migration theme. The range was pretty wide: from terrorism to border walls, from family problems to labour issues, from brain drain to ghettoization. Migration is connected to a lot of arguments and most of them are burning issues.
Nevertheless, between all the possibilities, our attention was attracted by one option, apparently more shallowing, but that revealed an unexpected potential. “Migration and movies”.
Dealing with migration from this point of view we had the chance to explore several options we listed before with a specific slant.
Furthermore we realized that the cinema production is not as shallowing as we expected it to be at the beginning. The widespread availability and the easy consumption of a film helped a lot to its diffusion in all social classes and in daily life situations.
It became an artifact that is not only a false diversion from the reality but a mirror of society, able to spread and convey ideas and behaviors on an increasingly growing public.
This is the reason why we decided to go for it: to see how cinema presents to the wide public the theme of migration.


Definition of our movie corpus

Where we explain how we selected the movies for our analysis.

Related topics

Where we investigated what themes are more related to migration and how they are connected

From where to where

Where we focused on the geographical relations that are narrated in our movies.

Movies visuals

Where we analyzed visual aspects of the movies: posters and trailers, in order to discover if some predominant tendencies can be found by filtering our trailers and covers according to several criterions.

How do people react?

Where we analyzed from what aspects of movies people are involved the most and how the talk about these ones.

To conclude

What emerges from our researches is a trend which underlines that most of our movies try to present the migration theme side by side with more appealing topics. Doing this they create a deflection that distract the audience from the main topic and foster the creation of stereotypes. Observing the treemaps mosaic it’s possible to see how in the higher part violence, sex and criminality are topics strongly present while the bottom part sees more various topics with the predominance of immigration and cultural differences.

This attitude, probably due to the need of fulfilling economic requests and to push the diffusion of the movie to reach more audience, has a negative result.
It creates a relationship in the mind of people that strongly links migrants with prostitution and crime.

It’s interesting to point out that this hypothesis is confirmed looking at the keywords written by Imdb users: for those keywords about themes like violence, sex and criminality we can see a very high precision in describing them. It is something almost obsessive

Comparing this observation with the map, we can see that this trend is particularly marked in movies produced in the United States, while foreign and independent movies with lower budget are more free from such stereotypes.