Winner of the Berlin Golden Bear for Best Film and nominated for the 2017 Oscar for Best Documentary, Gianfranco Rosi’s incisive, poignant and deeply moving portrait of the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa - and the humanitarian crisis occurring in the seas around it - is both a masterly work of documentary filmmaking and a timely call for urgent action.
Situated 150 miles south of Sicily, Lampedusa has hit world headlines as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees hoping to make a new life in Europe. After spending months living on the island and engaging with its inhabitants, Rosi accumulated an incredible array of footage, portraying the history, culture and daily lives of the islanders. Focusing on 12-year-old Samuele, as he explores the land and attempts to gain mastery of the sea, the film slowly builds a breathtakingly naturalistic portrait of the Lampedusan people and the terrible events that surround them.
The result is a lyrical and poetic yet searingly powerful documentary that casts neither judgement nor aspersions, but simply shows the world to the viewer - to utterly devastating effect.
✮✮✮✮✮ "Gianfranco Rosi’s beautiful, mysterious and moving film is a documentary that looks like a neorealist classic" - Peter Bradshaw, The Guardian
✮✮✮✮✮ "This delicate film about the present migrant crisis provides no commentary, no text or context, it just shows – with powerful effect" - David Sexton, Evening Standard
"Urgent, imaginative and necessary filmmaking" - Meryl Streep
"Of all the films I’ve seen this year, this is the one I liked the most. It’s very strong. It’s a wonderful thing to be able to do this kind of fictional film, but with scenes, real characters and some sense of a plot. But at the same time you have the feeling that these are not actors, but that this is more or less, their life. I tried to talk to the director and understand how he works and it’s interesting because he claims to be the most patient guy in the world. He doesn’t generate the situations, he just takes the time be there and to observe these people, shoot these moments, put them together and make some sense of it. I imagined it would be mostly about refugees and be very dramatic. The film is very dramatic, but it’s also about the lives of the people around the refugees just keep on going - a great idea from the director." - Cristian Mungiu