“FIRE AT SEA”
Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo
Directed by: Gianfranco Rosi
Written by: Gianfranco Rosi
Cinematography by: Gianfranco Rosi
Music by: Stefano Grosso
Distributed by: 01 Distribution
Release Date: September 2, 2016 (Telluride)
FILM SYNOPSIS: When hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern refugees flee their homes, their first stop in Europe is often the Sicilian island of Lampedusa. While the local doctor struggles to provide the new arrivals with healthcare, other residents, such as 12-year-old Samuele and his friends, go about their everyday lives with almost no interaction with the immigrants.
Stagnant shots, a young boy with a lazy eye, and boatloads of refugees dying at sea comprise the documentary “Fire At Sea.” Slow and plodding, the documentary mainly follows a young boy who has very little to do with the actual premise of the film, as he wanders around his island hometown with a friend, shooting slingshots, getting seasick on his father’s boat, and visiting the local doctor. The doctor is the connecting thread here, as he delves into the horrors that he has seen in treating those refugees that end up on their island when their boats wash ashore. By the end, the documentary hits its stride, showing frontline footage of the coast guard pulling people off a ship that is simply jam-packed with refugees, some which did not live to see the end of the trip. That produces some real emotions in people and makes you seriously wonder what you would do to find freedom in another country. Overall, however, this particular documentary feels weighted down by the stagnant shot choices and wildly off topic subject matter.
What’s its competition? Besides the idea of refugees finding their way to Europe, “Fire At Sea” never actually goes into much detail as to why this is happening, where they will eventually be headed, or what can be done to fix this immigration danger, whereas a film like “13th” clearly spells out a problem in the U.S. and shows the steps it took to get to that problem. “Fire At Sea” never feels like a once-in-a-lifetime experience, whereas this could have been done by anyone in this particular area and does not feel very inspired on top of that. “O.J.: Made In America” has a helluva lot more Oscar buzz behind it, even still, and “Life, Animated” tells a distinct, unique story and does so with creativity and interesting characters. I would personally place “Fire At Sea” at the bottom of the barrel.
Previous nominations? These are the first Academy Award nominations for Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo.
// Produced by Gianfranco Rosi and Donatella Palermo // Directed by Gianfranco Rosi //
// Dated Viewed: Saturday, January 28th, 2017 // Streaming // 43 films – 30 days //