Land, Culture and New Ways of Belonging: Encounters between Italian migrants and Indigenous Australians in Far Away is Home. La storia di Clely (Diego Cenetiempo, Australia/Italy, 2012)
Stories of encounters between Italian migrants and Indigenous Australians have rarely been portrayed in film and documentary form by either Italian or Australian filmmakers, reflecting a lack of interest that is not incidental but, as I propose in this paper, can be better understood as constitutive to how migrants’ sense of belonging and identity is negotiated in contemporary Australia. To do so, I consider Far Away is Home. La Storia di Clely, a 2012 short documentary by Italian filmmaker Diego Cenetiempo that retells the story of Clely Quaiat Yumbulul, a Triestine Italian migrant who, after moving to Galiwin’ku on Elcho Island, married Warramiri leader and artist Terry Yumbulul and now identifies herself as part Triestine and part Indigenous. Drawing on theories of diasporic and multicultural filmmaking and on scholarship on whiteness, migration and identity studies within the Australian context, this paper argues that Far Away is Home reframes Clely’s story of migration to Australia as an encounter with Warramiri country and culture, thus proposing alternative and decolonizing modes of belonging and identity.