The unyielding way in which the mayor of Riace, a village in the Calabria region of south Italy, generously took in refugees was long viewed as a success story. In one fell swoop, he solved the village’s two-fold problem of an aging population and the exodus of young people. It had been looking like Riace would go the same way as many other small rural communities and become a ghost town. But the newcomers really livened things up—until, that is, the political tide turned and the subsidies for Riace’s refugee policy dried up. The result was chaos and confusion. Many of the refugees, including 26-year-old Becky Moses from Nigeria, had to leave. Her relocation to a reception camp elsewhere in the region has fatal consequences.
But Now Is Perfect focuses on Becky Moses and a small number of other inhabitants of Riace, with politics playing only a supporting role. Although the fate of the young Nigerian woman is unique, it tells a bigger story—about the refugee crisis, which here is given an unforgettable face, and about friendship and humanity.