We’ve all had that moment of “To hell with it; I’m leaving!” in our lives where we want to drop everything and move to a totally different place to start fresh. Few of us actually manage to achieve this goal, but Danilo Melideo is one of the rare ones who did it. Not only did he do it, but he made a documentary chronicling this massive shift of his life in Good Time For a Change.
Fed up of being over-educated and severely under-employed in Italy’s downward economy, Danilo decides that he’s going to leave his hometown for bigger and better things and move to Canada. He then begins on a quasi-depressing journey in which he discovers not only how complicated it can be to move to a foreign country, but that the grass isn’t always greener on the other side. His journey initially takes him to Toronto where he’s enamoured by the similarities and differences to Italy and disheartened by the hoops that immigrants must jump through in order to set up a life in Canada.
Comparing his emigration to that of the generation of Italians before him, Danilo finds that the older generation blossomed because they were needed to build up a new society. Toronto is now fully developed and doesn’t need help to grow any further, so Danilo and his group of friends decide to try their luck in Canada’s underdeveloped counties up north. Along the way they stumble on to a Native American reservation and decide to stop to get acquainted with the residents. It’s at this point that Good Time for a Change ceases to just be a home-video-esque account of a man’s emigration and becomes a unbiased commentary on the way Canada treats its immigrants and the Natives on whose land the country was founded.
Hearing the stories of the Natives’ encounter with racism and the bizarre realization of being considered “other” in their home land is heartbreaking, not to mention jarring. Canada gives off the image of a welcoming country that is much more liberal and accepting than the United States, and though that is very true, Good Time for a Change shows us the dark side of our society which we’re often happily blind to.
Despite the serious subject matter the documentary eventually explores, it is, at its core, a funny, creative scrapbook of a man’s journey into the Great White North. Set up with graphics, amateurish close-ups as well as beautifully set up shots that show Toronto (making a rare appearance as itself!), the film is a mashup of one man’s talent and desire to put it to good use.
Good Time for a Change screens at TIFF Bell Lightbox on June 17 @ 9:30PM.
Sarah is covering the Italian Contemporary Film Festival which runs in Toronto, Montreal, and Quebec City from June 11-19. For more festival coverage, click here!