ambitious refugee documentary cheered at berlin film fest
Last Updated : GMT 09:42:23
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today

Ambitious refugee documentary cheered at Berlin film fest

Arab Today, arab today

Arab Today, arab today Ambitious refugee documentary cheered at Berlin film fest

Italian director Gianfranco Rosi
Berlin - AFP

A searing Italian documentary on Europe's refugee influx drew cheers Saturday at the Berlin film festival, which has rolled out the red carpet for pictures offering unique takes on the crisis.

"Fire at Sea" by award-winning director Gianfranco Rosi, set on the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa, emerged as an early favourite among 18 contenders for the festival's Golden Bear top prize, to be awarded by jury president Meryl Streep on February 20.

The film provides an unflinching look at the thousands of desperate people who arrive on the island each year trying to enter the European Union, and the thousands more who have died trying.

But Rosi, who spent several months on Lampedusa making the documentary, also offers a tender portrait of the rhythms of daily life in Lampedusa's ancient fishing villages and efforts of local people to help those in need.

"It bears witness to a tragedy that is happening right before our eyes," Rosi told reporters following a enthusiastically received press preview.

"I think we are all responsible for that tragedy and perhaps after the Holocaust, it is the greatest tragedy we have ever seen in Europe."

The picture is told through the eyes of a 12-year-old local boy, Samuele Pucillo, and a doctor, Pietro Bartolo, who has been tending to the often dehydrated, malnourished and traumatised new arrivals for a quarter-century.

Rosi, who clinched the Venice film festival's 2013 Golden Lion for his film "Sacro GRA", also accompanied coastguard rescue missions answering the terrified SOS calls of people on overcrowded boats, most of them arriving from Libya.

They are taken to a reception centre for medical examinations and processing while awaiting transfer to other sites in Italy.

Rosi captures the migrants' overwhelming relief to be on dry land, the shock that gives way to mourning for their dead, and the crushing boredom they break up with rough-and-tumble football games.

- 'Nightmares haunt me' -

In one powerful scene, a Nigerian man recounts the perilous journey to Italy in a call-and-response chant with other African migrants, describing what was for many a deadly trek through the scorching Sahara, and the suffering endured at the hands of Islamic State jihadists and prison guards in Libya.

Bartolo, the doctor, said that he hoped the film would open more Europeans' eyes to the plight visible in Lampedusa every day, as the political debate grows more entrenched.  

"I've seen so many terrible things, so many dead children, so many dead women, so many raped women. These things leave you with a great big empty hole in your stomach," he said.

"These are nightmares that haunt me very often."

Tim Robey of London's Daily Telegraph called the film "pertinent, humane" and "shattering" on Twitter, while Kate Muir of the Times pronounced it "brilliant".

Festival director Dieter Kosslick said ahead of the festival that a single theme ran through much of the selection this year: "the right to happiness -- the right to a home, to love, to self-determination, to life and to survival".

Hollywood star George Clooney and his wife Amal, a Lebanese-born human rights lawyer, used the occasion of the festival to offer their backing and assistance to Chancellor Angela Merkel in a meeting at her office Friday, after Germany let in 1.1 million asylum seekers last year.

The 11-day cinema showcase is also featuring around a dozen films shining a light on the crisis in various ways.

German documentary "Havarie" traces the fate of a small rickety refugee boat in the Mediterranean, spotted by a tourist who made a mobile phone video from a cruise ship.

Danish film "Those Who Jump" hands the camera to a Malian migrant trapped in the high-security border facility between the EU and Africa as he and hundreds of other would-be asylum seekers plot their next move.

And Syrian-Iraqi production "Life of the Border" allowed eight children in a refugee camp in the Kurdish Syrian town of Kobane to film their own stories.

The festival runs until February 21.

arabstoday
arabstoday

Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

ambitious refugee documentary cheered at berlin film fest ambitious refugee documentary cheered at berlin film fest

 



Name *

E-mail *

Comment Title*

Comment *

: Characters Left

Mandatory *

Terms of use

Publishing Terms: Not to offend the author, or to persons or sanctities or attacking religions or divine self. And stay away from sectarian and racial incitement and insults.

I agree with the Terms of Use

Security Code*

ambitious refugee documentary cheered at berlin film fest ambitious refugee documentary cheered at berlin film fest

 



Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Jordanian woman reveals her project

GMT 00:46 2017 Saturday ,11 November

Jordanian woman reveals her project
Arab Today, arab today Visit Jamaica for more than just sun

GMT 09:45 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

Visit Jamaica for more than just sun
Arab Today, arab today Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings

GMT 11:14 2017 Friday ,10 November

Keep kids busy at Thanksgiving gatherings
Arab Today, arab today UN warns of conflict in Gaza

GMT 08:39 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

UN warns of conflict in Gaza
Arab Today, arab today Missouri problem mirrors woes

GMT 06:46 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

Missouri problem mirrors woes
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today Australian academic's book pulled

GMT 15:20 2017 Monday ,13 November

Australian academic's book pulled
Arab Today, arab today May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit

GMT 02:14 2017 Saturday ,18 November

May under Brexit pressure at EU reform summit
Arab Today, arab today Delhi half-marathon to go ahead

GMT 03:51 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Delhi half-marathon to go ahead
Arab Today, arab today The history of solar eclipses

GMT 05:16 2017 Sunday ,20 August

The history of solar eclipses
Arab Today, arab today VW says will invest over 34bn euros

GMT 07:19 2017 Tuesday ,21 November

VW says will invest over 34bn euros
Arab Today, arab today Driverless, electric future just round

GMT 02:45 2017 Monday ,20 November

Driverless, electric future just round
Arab Today, arab today Singer Jahda Wahba has unlimited ambitions

GMT 07:56 2017 Monday ,20 November

Singer Jahda Wahba has unlimited ambitions
Arab Today, arab today paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 16:04 2017 Friday ,17 November

paObama climate envoy slams Trump's rejection

GMT 09:23 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Fedra happy for “Between Two Worlds” success

GMT 11:15 2017 Thursday ,16 November

Angola oil boss sacked by father's protege

GMT 18:41 2017 Friday ,20 October

Designer Aql Faqih aspires to innovation

GMT 11:38 2017 Wednesday ,15 November

Unloved vultures fight for their survival

GMT 11:49 2017 Thursday ,17 August

Egyptian artist presents new collection of designs

GMT 00:54 2017 Monday ,20 November

Mideast in danger as London explores

GMT 03:12 2017 Saturday ,18 November

Prince's vision spurs new Cornwall village

GMT 17:12 2017 Monday ,07 August

Al-Shawaifi reveals secrets of total solar eclipse

GMT 16:53 2017 Tuesday ,05 September

Youssra depended on colored foam
Arab Today, arab today
Arab Today, arab today
 
 Arab Today Facebook,arab today facebook  Arab Today Twitter,arab today twitter Arab Today Rss,arab today rss  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube  Arab Today Youtube,arab today youtube
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday arabstoday arabstoday
arabstoday
بناية النخيل - رأس النبع _ خلف السفارة الفرنسية _بيروت - لبنان
arabstoday, Arabstoday, Arabstoday