Francesco Ragazzi

Francesco Ragazzi co-directed his first documentary film the same year he started his Ph. D in political science in 2003. Trained in social science in Sciences Po Paris (B.A, 2002 and M.A. 2003), he holds a PhD in Political Science from Sciences Po (Paris) and Northwestern University (Chicago, 2010). Since 2010, he is lecturer in International Relations at Leiden University (Netherlands), and associated scholar at the Centre d’Etudes sur les Conflits, Liberté et Sécurité (France). His writing and his films deal with identity, migration and citizenship in a context of increased political violence and terrorism. His work has been published among others in peer-reviewed journals such as International Political Sociology, Security Dialogue, Political Geography, the films he has co-directed or co-produced were selected in international film festivals such as the Torino Film Festival and the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.

If making films can be a way to access and produce a certain kind of knowledge, how does filmmaking function as a 'method'?

Artist statement

I have researched social and political issues of migration, identity and political utopia through social science and documentary film. While I have carried out academic research and made films in parallel over the past ten years, I’m currently interested in exploring how interesting things can come out of the encounter between these two modes of inquiry. I’m particularly curious about the relations between experience and understanding, between showing and telling; as well as between subjective, imaginative, poetic forms of expression and their anchoring in reality. The themes I explore in my work blend the personal and political, captured through the eyes of Turkish immigrants living in the banlieues of Paris, Brazilians of Italian descent migrating to Italy, or young Italian communist militants looking for utopia in the Soviet Union in the late fifties. 

Essay, Documentary, Filmmaking as Method, Backstage, Self-reflexivity

Filmmaking as method | 13 Attempts to Shoot My Father

I’m interested in exploring the research possibilities located at the intersection of filmmaking and social science. From the ‘liminal space’ of artistic research – ‘liminal’ because it is located between art and academia, but not firmly grounded in any of those fields -  I hope to explore the practical and intellectual possibilities offered by the exploration of the idea of ‘filmmaking as a method’. From a social science perspective, I want to know how artistic research projects can shed an unexpected light on social and political issues; from the standpoint of cinema and in particular documentary filmmaking, how conceptual debates and empirical findings can inform a critical approach to documentary practice.

Temporarily entitled 13 Attempts to Shoot My Father– the short documentary essay film deals with the relation with my father as much as my relation to filmmaking. Based on the genre of the ‘making of’ or the ‘backstage’, the film explores the father-son relation through a metaphorical questioning of the traditional roles of cinema practice: the actor, the director and the audience.