Words by Kia Thomas
Graphic by Aspasia Celia Tsampas
Photos by Fernanda Parrado
“One way to study their flight is to catch and tag the butterflies. If caught again, the root of migration can be identified.”
The Brooklyn Academy of Music’s film division, BAMcinématek, holds a yearly showcase called Film School Shorts, which celebrates the premier work of select student filmmakers. This year, City College student Fernanda Parrado’s Metamorphosis was chosen to be showcased at the premiere on September 25th. A Brazilian filmmaker, Parrado’s inspiration for the film stemmed from her grandfather’s immigration to Brazil and her subsequent decision to immigrate to the United States. In Metamorphosis, she explores themes of movement, identity, belonging and self-determination.
Using archival footage and 8mm footage, Parrado creates a nostalgic atmosphere for the viewer. We are thrown into a foregone world, much like Parrado’s home country, guided through the imagery by her soothing narration. She describes her grandfather’s need to collect memorabilia from his home country of Spain, his insistence in reminding Parrado that it is a part of her, too. She does not feel the same urge to hold on to her roots, choosing to indulge her freedom by moving from place to place. When she is Othered by her status of “immigrant” in the United States, she begins to see parallels between her and her grandfather’s migrations.
Parrado’s grandfather asks, “Why keep moving constantly?” Parrado replies, “I wanted my own rebirth.” The film comes at a critical time for immigration in the United States. Under the current administration, the freedom to move beyond borders is heavily limited. Parrado was able to migrate to the United States in search of herself. Parrado’s grandfather asks, “Why be an immigrant like me?” With families being separated at the border and ICE’s militaristic state of control, the viewer must contemplate that too.
When freedom of movement is taken away, what does it mean for one’s self-development? When we are limited to the borders we were born within, are we limited to the selves we were born into? And how does that affect a person’s metamorphosis?
Parrado dedicates this film “To all immigrants.”