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Entries in Gianfranco Rosi (3)

Friday
Oct212016

Interview: 'Fire at Sea' Director Gianfranco Rosi on Blurring the Line Between Documentaries and Fiction

Jose here. Gianfranco Rosi’s Fire at Sea, takes a look at the migrant crisis with completely new eyes. He creates a parallel narrative in which the dangerous journeys of migrants trying to arrive in Europe seem to go almost unnoticed by the people of the island of Lampedusa, where many of them meet their fates. The island vignettes, which pay tribute to the Sicilian lifestyle, mainly focus on the misadventures of Samuele, a little boy who spends his days playing with his slingshot, worrying about diseases he’s much too young to have, and admiring the sea, perhaps unaware of the nightmare it represents to the migrants’ struggle. Rosi doesn’t create a story of ironic contrast, instead he offers a snapshot of the world we live in, and invites us to reexamine our role in the world. The documentary won the Golden Bear at the Berlin Film Festival where Jury President Meryl Streep called it “urgent, necessary filmmaking”, it also went on to be selected as Italy’s entry for the Foreign Film Oscar.

As the film opens in New York, I sat down with Rosi to talk about his views on documentaries, storytelling and how the worlds of his films are interconnected.


JOSE: You spend years working on your films and shooting. How do you know when you have a story?

GIANFRANCO ROSI: When I start the film I never know which story I’ll end up doing. I start from something a very simple structure, there’s an island, migrants, this is what happens when migrants arrive, this is where they come from. I have a geometrical idea of what’s going on - when I have this idea of the place I look for elements and people who will become my protagonists...

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Sunday
Feb212016

Berlin: Fire at Sea Wins the Golden Bear

 Amir Soltani is covering the Berlin International Film Festival.

The Berlinale officially closes today. Although we’re not yet finished with our coverage – a couple of interviews still to come – it’s the perfect time to look back and discuss the festival’s awards. In my review of Gianfranco Rosi’s exquisite new film, Fire at Sea, I noted that it would be a shock for the film to leave the Berlinale empty-handed. Lo and behold, the festival’s jury, headed by Meryl Streep, agreed with the sentiment, and rightly awarded the competition’s best film with the Golden Bear.

The festival’s unofficial theme – repeated across press releases and around the festival hub – was refugees and immigrants. Much as Rosi’s impressive constructed, morally compelling and profoundly moving film might have benefited from that, however, it was hard to ignore the fact that its reception by critics and audiences simply towered above any other film playing in any program in Berlin. The theory among critics was that if another film were to win, it would be Mia Hansen-Løve’s L’Avenir would be it. With critics near-unanimously calling it the director’s best work yet, and with four women on a jury of seven, the Isabel Huppert vehicle was likely to find favour, and indeed it nabbed the best director prize. [More...]

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Monday
Feb152016

Berlin: Fire at Sea

Amir Soltani is covering the Berlin International Film Festival for The Film Experience this year, our first time at Berlinale!. Tonight, previous Venice winner, Gianfranco Rosi's Fuocoammare.

Gianfranco Rosi shocked the film world with his Golden Lion win at Venice for Sacro GRA a few years ago. At Berlinale, the true shock would be for his latest film, Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare), to leave the festival empty-handed. The Italian maestro’s seamless hybrid of documentary and fiction is a self-reflexive and compassionate meditation on Italy’s crisis of cultural identity in the face of an unprecedented wave of refugee migration.

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