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With Jim Sabatini

Fire At Sea

Fire At Sea

Rated: No rating 
Reviewed by: Jim  
Release date: January 29, 2017 Released by: 01 Distribution

A Best Documentary feature nominee from Italy's Gianfranco Rosi is an acclaimed, intuitive, and trenchant look at a refugee crisis occurring in Europe.

Fire at Sea (in Italian with English subtitles, 'Fuocoammare') captures the tumultuous experience on the tiny island of Lampedusa (200 km south of Sicily covering eight square miles) of desperate migrants from Africa and the Middle East to improve their well-being arriving their on small, derelict vessels.

Rosi's use of technology by way of ARRI Amira cameras brightens (offers clarity to) what happens on the frontline (stationing them for months), not just in nocturnal settings, as a portal to a continent with an entirely different religion and culture. What transpires proves to be exasperating which goes to show what Rosi (who handled the little sophisticated cameras himself) is capable of visually.

Harrowing conditions for strangers (hundreds coming each week with boats aided by the Italian naval fleet) trying to survive in a new seemingly serene land (with some falling ill and others perishing with diesel fuel all over them) weren't greeted especially well by the stressed-out, hesistant locals. Contrasting this new group is the one personified by a 12-year-old, Samuele, a fisherman's son with a lazy eye who takes his sling-shot out in the woods when not climbing rocks near the coast; everyday life of these inhabitants is effectively depicted even if both sides rarely interact.

An emergency having ramifications on the locals comes to fruition in Fire at Sea which is equally heartrending and sapient considering what the issue means to all involved; it has more of an immediacy the way a rigorously detailed Rosi delivers it than nightly news segments covered it. Accountability comes to the fore and questions are raised with honest, raw verisimilitude in a part of the Mediterranean that many hardly know about. And, what may be a microcosm for conditions on a global scale which need to be handled with sensitivity and insight.

  Frank Chris Jim Dave Gerry Matt Claudette Jennifer Audralee  Avg. 
Fire At Sea        A-                     A- 

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