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.
A 19th century French aristocrat, notorious for his scathing memoirs about life in Russia, travels through the Russian State Hermitage Museum and encounters historical figures from the last 200+ years.
Situated some 200km off Italy's southern coast, Lampedusa has hit world headlines in recent years as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants hoping to make a new life in Europe. Rosi spent months living on the Mediterranean island, capturing its history, culture and the current everyday reality of its 6,000-strong local population as hundreds of migrants land on its shores on a weekly basis. The resulting documentary focuses on 12-year-old Samuele, a local boy who loves to hunt with his slingshot and spend time on land even though he hails from a culture steeped in the sea.
Official submission of Italy for the 'Best Foreign Language Film' category of the 89th Academy Awards in 2017. See more »
The Mediterranean is not a sea that divides, but a sea that unites. It unites peoples, continents, it unites different lands, it unites these people who bring us new experiences. They bring us their culture, but also their kindness, because these are good people and they are not sick. They're not terrorists, and they don't want to steal anyone's job. They just want some peace, to live with dignity, without the fear of dying from one moment to the next.
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Many action movies, rom-coms, sci-fi movies, and documentaries are formulaic. Not so with "Fire at Sea." There are no voice overs by elderly Hollywood actors, or dry commentary by hardcore journalists.
Writer/director Giafranco Rosi tells his story by contrasting and comparing young Samuele's - a local inhabitant on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa - "speed bumps" with the plight of African, Asian, and Middle Eastern refugees as overcrowded boats of them stop near Lampedusa until the Italian Coast Guard can rescue, help, triage, or mark them for burial.
Rosi uses both beautiful, poignant, and graphic scenes to engage the viewer throughout. No loud-mouthed protestors with bull horns or offensive signs in this movie. No politics. Just two stories intertwined to help educate, enlighten, and perhaps to teach tolerance and compassion.
Most impressive - the Italian Coast Guard. Their job is relentless, dangerous, and I am sure... Satisfying. They should be sainted!
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