For nearly two years of exploring the "Great Ring Road's" almost 70km of looping highway, Gianfranco Rosi brings to the foreground the daily routine of ordinary people, composing the profile of a microcosm on the outskirts of Great Rome.
During a five year period an Italian filmmaker documents the world of down-on-their-luck individuals who live in a Californian desert trying to get by one day at a time. None of them has more than a vehicle, a dog and some clothes.
Armando, a 50 year man, seeks young men in Caracas and pays them just for company. One day he meets Elder, a 17 years boy that is the leader of a criminal gang, and that meeting changes their lives forever.
After the India of Varanasi's boatmen, the American desert of the dropouts, and the Mexico of the narco-assassin, Gianfranco Rosi've Decided to tell the tale of a part of his own country, roaming and filming for over two years in a minivan on Rome's giant ring road, the GRA, or GRA-to discover the invisible worlds and possible futures harbored in this area of constant turmoil. Elusive characters and fleeting apparitions emerge from the background of this winding zone.Written by
This little movie is classified as "documentary" and named after the GRA, which is the orbital road that surrounds the city of Rome. So it would be legit to expect the environment of the metropolis suburbia to be the center and the focus of the narrative. Instead, I was quite surprised to discover how "Sacro GRA" is basically a gallery of portraits, featuring a series of curious and inspiring characters.
All this people share the apparently unexciting fate of living their lives in the depressed urban context on the edge of the "Big Beauty". I mention the recent movie of Paolo Sorrentino because the comparison between the real characters of this "Sacro GRA" and the fictional characters of "La Grande Bellezza" was, to me, quite automatic: while in the lavish apartments and villas of Sorrentino's movie desperation grows like a sunflower in summer, in the much harder situations depicted by Mr. Rosi the people looks to be less prone to self-pity, and more than willing to hope, and trust, and love, and believe - just like if they were in a 19th century romance.
Filtered through the eyes and lives of these unbreakable spirits, even the occasional sad moments acquire a bittersweet aftertaste, and become more acceptable: just the negative proofs of the existence of happiness - like pawprints left in the woods by the passage of a wild, legendary beast.
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