Over the past few years, hundreds of African and Middle Eastern migrants have arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa every week. In Fire at Sea, documentarian Gianfranco Rosi shows what life looks like for the island’s residents and the rescue crews, cutting between scenes of life on the island (which center on a young boy whose predominant interests are his slingshots and spaghetti) and the people who help receive and treat migrants.
Beautifully shot and highly lauded — the film was Italy’s official entry in the Best Foreign Language Film Category at the 2017 Oscars — Fire at Sea is a deeply humane exploration of the human cost of the crisis, and how people live in the midst of it.
”[Rosi’s] restraint is reminiscent of Frederick Wiseman’s. ... Constructed as much as reported, Fire at Sea is a beautiful artifact presented for your contemplation. It is also an act of conscience. And it is harrowing.” Stuart Klawans, Film Comment
Release date: October 21, 2016
Streaming on: Netflix, iTunes, YouTube, Vudu, Google Play
Metacritic score: 87 out of 100