The Melusinas at the Edge of the River
Born in Luxembourg to immigrant families, five women reflect on countries, identities, fragments, and mermaids.
While searching among mountains and rivers for Melusina, the mutant and legendary mermaid of the city of Luxembourg, the director talks to four women about their uncertain identities : what it is like to be an immigrant without being one, and to be Luxembourgish without being one. A journey through memories in rainy times. A search for ever-fragmented identities. An uncertain attempt at reconciliations.
Looking for world premiere.
Since the beginning of my career in cinema, I have worked on various themes related to the condition of women in society, women in cinema, e/immigration, the space of the home, identity and memory. The search for this film is a reflection on immigration, identities, houses and women.
After having worked on the process of my parents’ emigration from Portugal to Luxembourg in the 1990s, dealing with the return to the country always postponed and the space of the closed dream home, in As Melusinas à margem do rio I turn the camera the other way, seeking to portray women, daughters of immigrants in Luxembourg, and by extension, myself.
The idea for this film emerged at the end of 2018, and over the last five years it has taken on dimensions that have, at times, overtaken me. If throughout the film I try to find the legendary mermaid Melusina, founder of Luxembourg, but with a history far beyond the small country and perhaps a mermaid and/immigrant, the truth is that I seek in Melusina to assimilate all the fragments that make up my identity, and help to unravel the answers to several questions: am I Luxembourgish, or even considered Luxembourgish? Or am I an immigrant in the country where I was born and raised? What does it mean to be Luxembourgish? Why have I never understood Luxembourg as my home, and what led me to emigrate to Portugal? What made me feel this fragmentation of identity?
It was through conversations with four women in the same situation as me that I started to understand, find and accept some of the answers to these questions. Daughters of immigrants in Luxembourg, they decided to stay in the country: Ana-Filipa, daughter of Portuguese; Melina, daughter of Spanish mother and Congolese father; Shanila, daughter of Ugandans; Amela, daughter of Montenegrins. More than, as initially thought, taking them to meet Melusina, they take me to meet this mythical figure, and al- low me an attempt at reconciliation with a country and a past with which I have always had difficulties.