// Presented as part of November's In Transit II Series //
Gianfranco Rosi / 2016, Berlin Film Festival, Cartagena, Chicago, Hamptons, Hawaii, Helsinki, Karlovy Vary, Melbourne, Mill Valley, Moscow, New York Film Festival, NYT Critics' Pick, Palm Springs, Philadelphia, Reykjavik, Telluride, Toronto, / 114'
Halfway between Sicily and the coast of Tunisia lies a tiny island with a dwindling full-time population of several thousand. Samuele is a 12-year old boy whose days are simple, spent climbing rocks by the sea that stretches to an endless horizon, fashioning slingshots to shoot birds out of trees. A radio disc-jockey plays old Italian classics upon request; someplace else on the island, an elderly woman listens, frying eggplant. Distress signals from incoming vessels reach the island from across the airwaves—often without a captain, these boats are overfilled with men, women, and children, risking their lives to arrive at this gateway to Europe.
Incorporating wry, fly-on-the-wall footage of ordinary Italians going about their lives with that of rescue workers, medical professionals, and the migrants themselves, Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea) weaves a rich tapestry of Lampedusa, the nexus of the European refugee crisis. After winning the Golden Lion for Sacro GRA, Gianfranco Rosi's fifth documentary premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival, where it won the Amnesty International Film Prize, the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury, and the Golden Bear for Best Film. Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea) was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary, and is a New York Times Critics' Pick.