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The Italian island Lampedusa is the first point of contact in Europe for many refugees. Gianfranco Rosi (DAS ANDERE ROM) lived in Lampedusa for a year and shot a documentary about the island that is permanently in a state of emergency which won him ...


The Italian island Lampedusa is the first contact point in Europe for many refugees. Boats filled with distraught, starving people arrive there every day. The islander’s daily routine includes almost daily calls for help and rescue missions, maritime disasters, and drownings. Some ships reach the border with many dead people. At the same time, there aren’t many refugees who can be seen on the island – they are immediately picked up at sea, taken to the island’s shelter, and driven to the mainland by bus.
Gianfranco Rosi (SACRO GRA, BELOW SEA LEVEL) lived in Lampedusa for a year and shot a documentary about this island that is in a permanent state of emergency which won the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale. FUOCOAMMARE shows a different side of the images in the news – not by giving new information but by spending the time to explore this special microcosm. He takes his time to look at the refugees up close, listen to the impressive doctor Dr. Bartolo as he presents the book of the ill and the dead, and observe 12 year old Samuele as he visits fishermen and builds catapults. He also gives us time to let things sink in without immediately replacing them with a new thought, like what happens with the news. Not everything in the film is a documentary: there’s an ominous diver who is searching for something during a storm and appears symbolic. Large parts of the scenes with Samuele are staged: he is an islander child, but just like us Europeans. So close to what’s happening, but childishly self-involved.

Hendrike Bake

Translation: Elinor Lewy


Original title: Fuocoammare
Italien/Frankreich 2016, 114 min
Genre: Documentary
Director: Gianfranco Rosi
Author: Gianfranco Rosi, Carla Cattani
DOP: Gianfranco Rosi
Montage: Jacopo Quadri
Distributor: Weltkino Filmverleih
Cast: Samuele Pucillo, Mattias Cucina, Samuele Caruana, Dr. Pietro Bartolo, Giuseppe Fragapane, Maria Signorello, Francesco Paterna, Francesco Mannino, Maria Costa
FSK: 12
Release: 28.07.2016




  • OV Original version
  • OmU Original with German subtitles
  • OmeU Original with English subtitles

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