Fire at Sea by Gianfranco Rosi in competition at Berlin
by Camillo De Marco
- The new documentary by the winner of the Golden Lion was filmed on the island of Lampedusa, the landing place of thousands of migrants in search of freedom
The new documentary by Golden Lion winner Gianfranco Rosi, Fire at Sea [+see also:
interview: Gianfranco Rosi
film profile], has been chosen to compete at Berlin, as was announced yesterday by the Berlinale.
To make Fire at Sea, Rosi went to Lampedusa, the landing place for the last twenty years of thousands of migrants in search of freedom and the epicentre of media hype. Rosi went to live on the island for over a year, to find out what it means to live on the most symbolic border of Europe, telling the various stories of those who have always lived on the island and the migrants themselves. The film centres around Samuele, 12-years-old, who, along with his fellow citizens, has witnessed one of the biggest human tragedies of our time.
The direction, photography and sound are all by Gianfranco Rosi, whilst the editing is by Jacopo Quadri and the assistant director is Giuseppe del Volgo. The narrative was written by the director, based on an idea by Carla Cattani. The film was produced by Donatella Palermo and Gianfranco Rosi, through 21Uno Film and Stemal Entertainment, with Istituto Luce-Cinecittà and Rai Cinema, in co-production with French companies Les Films D’Ici and Arte France Cinéma. The film is set to hit Italian theatres in February under the distribution of Istituto Luce-Cinecittà.
His invitation to participate in the Berlinale arrived whilst Rosi was still filming in Lampedusa, where the editing was relocated to guarantee continuity between reality and the narrative of the documentary. “I always find it hard to tear myself away from the characters and filming locations”, says the director, “but this time it was even harder. More so than when working on my other projects, I felt like I needed share my experience as soon as possible so as to link it to the present and the questions this poses. I’m particularly pleased to be bringing the story of Lampedusa, its inhabitants and its migrants to Berlin, in Central Europe, at a time when the media is making us stop and think differently”.
(Translated from Italian)