A teacher lives a lonely life, all the while struggling over his son's custody. His life slowly gets better as he finds love and receives good news from his son, but his new luck is about to be brutally shattered by an innocent little lie.
Thomas Bo Larsen,
A married couple are faced with a difficult decision - to improve the life of their child by moving to another country or to stay in Iran and look after a deteriorating parent who has Alzheimer's disease.
An aspiring author during the civil rights movement of the 1960s decides to write a book detailing the African-American maids' point of view on the white families for which they work, and the hardships they go through on a daily basis.
At a Montréal public grade school, an Algerian immigrant is hired to replace a popular teacher who committed suicide in her classroom. While helping his students deal with their grief, his own recent loss is revealed.
A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.
Terraferma is without doubt the best film by the Sicilian director Crialese, whose earlier works include Respiro and Nuovomondo. It is a powerful, often disturbing and strongly emotional film (which some viewers and critics, mainly from the English-speaking world, seem to have difficulty with)that deals with one of the most urgent issues facing Italy, and Western Europe, the influx of desperately poor immigrants/refugees from Africa. The film is set on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, which in recent years has received so many of these people that their "centri di accoglienza" can barely accommodate them. The harsh Bossi-Fini law, and an agreement worked out between Berlusconi's and Khaddafi's government, resulted in many immigrants who'd made it to Italy via Libya being sent back to Libya, where many were horribly mistreated. The elderly fisherman Ernesto, who rescues at sea an African mother and her son, represents an older, humane ethos, a Christian ethic in the best sense and the code of seafarers that demands one never abandons anyone lost at sea. Strong performances all around from the professional actors, including the wonderful Donatella Finocchiaro, who has appeared in the films of the Palermo-based director Roberta Torre, and the casting of actual local fishermen (there's a marvelous scene where they plot to get back at the oppressive and heartless carabineri)imparts a vivid authenticity. Terraferma also is visually stunning; Crialese loves the Mediterranean and he imbues "the wine-dark sea" with both mystical and socio-political import, as its shores embrace various yet similar civilizations. A beautiful, engrossing film with heart, soul, humor, and a powerful humanistic vision.
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