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The film of the year, Fuocoammare gives us a window into the world of desperate migrants who risk their lives trying to get to Europe, and it pays tribute to the Italians living on the island of Lampadusa who try to help them. Directed by Gianfranco Rosi.
Gianfranco Rosi’s previous documentary Sacro GRA sheds light on people who are very different from the ones in Fuocoammare, and yet the same in one important way. They are living on society’s fringe and deserve to be counted for. Rosi said the thing that all of the characters in Sacro GRA had in common was their positive look on life.
We shouldn’t forget a previous and extremely powerful film about the. island of Lampadusa, Terraferma. From director Emanuale Crialese, Terraferma focuses on one family’s dilemma when they come across a young refugee in need.
Andrea Segre’s beautiful little film about the friendship between a Chinese woman and a fisherman in Italy shows us the sacrifices that immigrants make for their families.
Segre’s earlier work does the same. La Prima Neve is a story about a refugee, but Segre’s not on any soap box with this immigration story. Something tragic has happened to Dani, but we aren’t sure at first what it is. And when he goes to work for a woman and her family at their remote Alpine home we know that something bad has happened to them too, and they can help each other.
Paola Randi’s little gem of a movie is one of the most under-rated of all time. It’s the story of a scientist in Naples who tries to deliver the package for the Camorra, but the recipients are gunned down just as they reach for it and Alfonso flees into a nearby apartment building so that the same thing doesn’t happen to him. Little does he know how his life will change in the world he’s about to discover. The building has become a kind of enclave for immigrants from Sri Lanka – a “Paradiso”, a home away from home that seems far away from the outside streets of Napoli.
Ivan Cotroneo’s Un Bacio deals with another kind of terrorism, the high school bully kind, and addresses this delicate subject along with homophobia.
Chiamatemi Francesco takes us back to the current Pope, Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s youth and his first thoughts about a life serving God, from his decision to become a Jesuit priest in some of the most difficult years in the history of Argentina. Pope Francis, as Luchetti shows us, has been able to advance his causes, his career, and his spirituality by managing, somehow, to minister to the faithful without getting arrested, tortured, and killed by the dictatorship’s death squads, as many of his colleagues did.
In La Mafia Uccide Solo D’Estate, Arturo, like the rest of Palermo, must face the truth, gather courage, and try to stand up to the mob. And since Italy isn’t exactly “mob-free” even today I imagine that making this movie and its tribute to those who died trying to free the country from Mafia clutches was a brave act on director Pierfrancesco Diliberto’s part, as well.
The Taviani brothers directed this film about prisoners in a high security Rome prison using actual incarcerated men who are putting on the play Julius Caesar. Cesare Deve Morire reminds us of to remember “the least of these”, society’s forgotten human beings.
This hilarious comedy from director Luca Miniero has a serious message for us all: No matter what you think about people who are different from you, there is always a reason to get to know them and find out how wrong you’ve been.