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Skam Italia 4: Under the Veil of the Second Generation

by Valeria Brucoli

by Valeria Brucoli, Confronti Editorial Staff

The fourth season of Skam Italia, the teen drama created by Ludovico Bessegato for TIMvision and produced by Cross Productions, arrived on Netflix in 2020. Based on the 2015 Norwegian series of the same name, Skam has achieved great success with audiences and critics in Italy and around the world, placing itself as one of the most innovative audiovisual products capable of communicating important issues to young people, in a language they are familiar with, as did the brilliant German TV series Kebab for Breakfast in 2006, centered on the stormy coexistence, influenced by their marked religious and cultural differences, between the teenage children of a Turkish and a German family.

Structured like a polyphonic narrative, Skam entrusts the story of each season to the point of view of one of the protagonists, Eva, Martino, Eleonora and Sana, four sixteen-year-olds who attend high school in Rome, and who are faced with all the issues related to passage from adolescence to adulthood, from the search for their own identity to the search for their place in the world.

Sana (Beatrice Bruschi) is the narrator of the fourth season, a young second generation Muslim, who seeks a balance between her culture of origin and that of her schoolmate’s, between the desire to live a stimulating social and sentimental life and the rules dictated by her faith. Feeling alien to both her community of origin and the school community, Sana places herself as an outsider in all respects, ready to assert her identity as a practicing Muslim and her free choice to wear the veil, although she is always willing to put herself in discussion, welcoming all the stimuli and food for thought that come to her from old friendships and new encounters.

It is an accurate representation, handling with lightness the reality experienced by second generation Muslims in Italy, which the creator Ludovico Bessegato followed thanks to the precious advice of the sociologist Sumaya Abdel Qader, city councilor in Milan and author of What We Have in the Head (Mondadori, 2019 ), in which the choice of wearing the veil as a feminist gesture is claimed and I Carry the Veil, I Love Queen (Sonzogno, 2008).

It is an exceptional point of view, shared by the Italian-Tunisian artist Takoua Ben Mohamed, who in her comic strip, Sotto il Velo (Yellow Beak, 2016), recounts with irony about her everyday life as a girl who freely chose to wear the veil in Italy, and in the more recent The Jasmine Revolution (Becco Giallo, 2018), she retraces the journey that took her from the gates of the Sahara desert to the outskirts of Rome when she was only eight years old.

It is the same scene through which Phaim Bhuiyan moves, protagonist of the autobiographical film Bangla, for which he was awarded to be the best new director at the David di Donatello 2020. Of Bengali origin but born and raised in Italy, in the Roman district of Torpignattara, Phaim—just like Sana in Skam—is constantly torn between the impulses aroused by first love and the life path that family and faith suggest.

It is a dilemma that does not find a right or wrong answer in any case, but which is only the first step in the search for one’s own identity, in addition to the background, the culture of origin, the education of the family, and the principles of religion. This is an essential task,  finding people who are open to different points of view about reality and, by questioning their own certainties, help to shape an ever-new vision of the world.

[published on WE n.2 – Islamophobia – 24/05/2020]

Ph. Frame from Skam Italia

Valeria Brucoli

Valeria Brucoli

Confronti Editorial Staff

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