day 1

THE DEPARTURE

Milan

The wedding convoy leaves the city

THE MOUNTAIN PATH

GRIMALDI SUPERIORE

Crossing Death Pass

A Palestinian poet and an Italian journalist meet five Palestinians and Syrians in Milan who entered Europe via the Italian island of Lampedusa after fleeing the war in Syria. They decide to help them complete their journey to Sweden – and hopefully avoid getting themselves arrested as traffickers – by faking a wedding. With a Palestinian friend dressed up as the bride and a dozen or so Italian and Syrian friends as wedding guests, they cross halfway over Europe on a four-day journey of three thousand kilometres. This emotionally charged journey not only brings out the stories and hopes and dreams of the five Palestinians and Syrians and their rather special traffickers, but also reveals an unknown side of Europe – a transnational, supportive and irreverent Europe that ridicules the laws and restrictions of the Fortress in a kind of masquerade which is no other than the direct filming of something that really took place on the road from Milan to Stockholm from the 14th to the 18th of November 2013.

MEET THE CAST

THE JOURNEY

Where it all began

The afternoon of 20th October 2013. Three friends meet at Porta Garibaldi Station in Milan for a coffee.

gabriele del grande
Gabriele
del Grande

journalist and writer

khaled soliman al nassiry
Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry

poet and editor

tareq al jabr
Tareq Al Jabr

poet and translator

A young Palestinian man hears them speaking Arabic and asks them which platform the train to Sweden leaves from. They say there isn't a train to Sweden and invite him to join them for a coffee.

Abdallah tells them that he's one of the survivors of the shipwreck off Lampedusa that happened on the 11th of October and that he saw 250 people drown there in the sea. That evening on their way home Gabriele, Khaled and Tareq try to think what they can do about it and, a few days later, decide to contact to a film director friend of theirs.

abdallah sallam
Abdallah Sallam

university student, studying English language and literature

antonio augugliaro
Antonio Augugliaro

film editor and director

“Why don't we have a wedding? What border policeman would ever stop a bride to check her documents?”. At first it seemed a joke, but the idea gradually took form – also because in the meantime they'd met another four Palestinians and Syrians in Milan, on their way from Lampedusa to Sweden.

AHMAD ABED e MONA AL GHABRA
AHMAD ABED
e MONA AL GHABRA

man and wife, both former dissidents

ALAA AL-DIN BJERMI e MC MANAR
ALAA AL-DIN BJERMI
e MC MANAR

father and son – Manar wants to make it as a rapper

All that remained was to find the bride – the first girl that said she would do it changed her mind, and the second one had left with a people smuggler. Tareq said he was prepared to dress up as a woman and then, on that very day, an old Palestinian friend turned up, Tasnim, and she agreed enthusiastically to do it.

TASNIM FARED
TASNIM FARED

activist

But a wedding party needs guests if it's going to be convincing. On the 3rd of November, a list of the directors' trusted friends received an e-mail marked TOP SECRET. These ones said yes:

CHIARA DENARO
CHIARA DENARO

social worker

DANIELE REGOLI
DANIELE REGOLI

cook

ELENA BISSACA
ELENA BISSACA

social organiser and researcher

MARTA BELLINGRERI
MARTA BELLINGRERI

writer and researcher

RACHELE MASCI
RACHELE MASCI

journalist

RUBEN BIANCHETTI
RUBEN BIANCHETTI

social organiser

SILVIA TURATI
SILVIA TURATI

aid worker

VALERIA VERDOLINI
VALERIA VERDOLINI

legal sociologist and researcher

And in the same short time a film crew was put together.

GIANNI BONARDI
GIANNI BONARDI

camera operator and director of photography

MARCO ARTUSI
MARCO ARTUSI

camera operator

VALENTINA BONIFACIO
VALENTINA BONIFACIO

camera operator

TOMMASO BARBARO
TOMMASO BARBARO

sound mixer

MARCO GAROFALO
MARCO GAROFALO

stills photographer

At dawn on 14th November 2013, a group of 23 young people – Italians, Palestinians and Syrians, all smartly dressed as if really going to a wedding – gathered in front of Milan Central Station. People from both sides of the Mediterranean, ready to risk everything, together, to show that it can still be a sea that unites us.

day 3

THE POET

Bochum

In an old farmhouse

day 4

on the train

COPENAGHEN

The last border

A documentary and yet a political act, a real and yet fantastic story; "On the Bride's Side" is all these things at once. And, right from the start, the hybrid nature of the film dictated a number of specific choices. First of all, there was the script treatment: rather than writing dialogues and character parts, we organised the journey on the basis of scenes, imagining situations in which our characters, used to the presence of the cameras, could move freely.
The filming, therefore, always had to adapt to the needs of the political act, because we really had to get to Sweden – it wasn't just for the film. And we had to get there as quickly as possible. This obviously set an extremely demanding work rate: twelve hours a day in the car, scenes to shoot, files to download and, if we were lucky, three hours sleep a night. If there was one thing that stopped the crew from abandoning us on the very first day, it was the atmosphere that was created.
The fact that we were sharing a great risk and a great dream inevitably united us. And this experience also changed our way of seeing things and helped us in the search for a new perception of the border – for a language, which, without falling into the trap of victimism, was able to transform the monsters of our fears into the heroes of our dreams, the ugly into the beautiful and numbers into names.

A DESERTED CITY SQUARE

STOCKHOLM

Dancing the dabka in the night

Directed by
Antonio Augugliaro
Gabriele Del Grande
Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry

Associated Producer
DocLab

Story and Screenplay
Antonio Augugliaro
Gabriele Del Grande
Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry

With
Tasneem Fared, Abdallah Sallam, MC Manar, Alaa Bjermi, Ahmed Abed, Mona Al Ghabr, Gabriele Del Grande, Khaled Soliman Al Nassiry, Tareq Al Jabr, Marta Bellingreri, Rachele Masci, Chiara Denaro, Valeria Verdolini, Elena Bissaca, Ruben Bianchetti, Daniele Regoli, Marco Garofalo, Silvia Turati, Gina Bruno.

Cameramen
Antonio Augugliaro
Gianni Bonardi
Marco Artusi
Valentina Bonifacio

Photographer
Marco Garofalo

Boom operator
Tommaso Barbaro

Editing
Antonio Augugliaro

Editing Supervisor
Lizi Gelber

Color Grading
Gabriele Cipolla

Sound design and sound editing
Tommaso Barbaro

Sound mix
Massimo Mariani

Original Sound Track
Dissòi Lògoi
Tommaso Leddi
Matteo Maltauro
Alberto Morelli
Franco Parravicini
Federico Sanesi
MC Manar
Mosè - C.O.V.

Poster's calligraph
Khereddin Obed