Twelve-year-old Samuele lives on Lampedusa. Just like all boys of his age, he wants to have fun, climb on the rocks and hang around in the harbour. His island, however, is not like the others. It is Lampedusa, which has become the European destination for men, women and children who cross the Mediterranean Sea in small, ramshackle, overfull boats. They hope to find a new life in Europe, without war, violence and hopelessness. Every day Samuele is witness to one of the biggest human tragedies of our time.
Lampedusa has hit world headlines in recent years as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants hoping to make a new life in Europe. Italian filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi spent a year on the island in order to make Fuocoammare. The film became a poetic portrait of the hushed fishing community, interjected with striking images of people in search of peace and freedom. The combination of conviviality and profound tragedy produces a sense of alienation. How absurd can life be? He leaves further conclusions to the viewer, though no one can miss the undertone of his compassion. It’s a film that will take everyone’s breath away.
This astonishing, urgent, heart-rending movie was honoured at the 2016 Berlin Film Festival with awards including the Golden Bear for Best Film and the Amnesty International Film Award.