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Fire At Sea (12A)
Dir. Gianfranco Rosi, France, Italy, 2016, 108 mins
Winner of the Golden Bear for Documentary Berlinale, Fire at Sea offers a distinctive, humane and relevant cinematic exploration into the chaos associated with the ongoing migrant crisis. It is both a masterly work of documentary filmmaking and a timely call for urgent action.
Situated some 150 miles south if Sicily, Lampedusa is one of Europe’s most symbolic borders, having 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. Fire at Sea embeds us in the life of 12-year old Samuele, who loves shooting his slingshot and going hunting – land-based games, though everything around him is redolent of the sea.
The film builds a breathtakingly naturalistic portrait of the Lampedusan people and the terrible events that surround them – packed boats sending distress signals; patrols racing to aid them; the arrival of the living and the dead. With quiet profundity, he contrasts the settled lives of Lampedusans with the complete disenfranchisement of the migrants, desperately seeking a place of greater safety.
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.
‘Masterly filmmaking … beautiful, mysterious and moving’ ★★★★★
‘Leaves your head and heart overflowing’ ★★★★
- Wed 27 Jul: 7.30pm