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Gianfranco Rosi
Italy, France 2016 / 108’

Gianfranco Rosi takes his camera to Lampedusa. Located 100 kilometers off the coast of Africa, the island has become one of the clearest symbols of the migration crisis in Europe. While aware of this fact, Rosi avoids trying to dazzle viewers with the sort of shocking images one might find in the tabloids. Instead, he focuses on patient observation of the daily life of the island's inhabitants, some of whom do not even notice the drama unfolding before their eyes. Others, such as Dr. Pietro Bartolo, dedicate every free moment they have to rescuing refugees. Fire at Sea is a tribute to the heroism of these individuals. At the same time, Rosi's film is also a masterful workshop in documentary filmmaking. Like in his earlier Sacro GRA, the Italian director makes skillful use of contrasts, creates subtle metaphors, and perceives profundity in seemingly meaningless situations. These strengths were recognized by the jury at the Berlin Film Festival, which awarded Fire at Sea a well-deserved Golden Bear.

Piotr Czerkawski


Berlin IFF 2016 – Golden Bear, Amnesty International Film Prize, Prize of the Ecumenical Jury

Gianfranco Rosi

Gianfranco Rosi is one of the most successful contemporary documentary filmmakers in the world. He was born in 1964 in Asmara, Eritrea. He left for Europe at the age of 13 because of the civil war in his home country. He lived in Rome and Istanbul. At the age of 20, he emigrated to New York, where he graduated from film school. He made his debut film in 1993 with Boatman, which was shown at the Sundance Film Festival, among other places. His 2013 film Sacro GRA was the first documentary in history to triumph at the Venice Film Festival.


1993 Boatman (short)

2008 Below Sea Level

2012 Pokój 164: Spowiedź mordercy / El Sicario, Room 164

2013 Rzymska aureola / Sacro GRA

2016 Fuocoammare. Ogień na morzu / Fuocoammare / Fire at Sea

Cast & Crew

director Gianfranco Rosi
screenplay Gianfranco Rosi, Carla Cattani
cinematography Gianfranco Rosi
editing Jacopo Quadri
sound Stefano Grosso
cast Samuele Pucillo, Pietro Bartolo, Samuele Caruana
producer Donatella Palermo, Gianfranco Rosi
production Stemal Entertainment, 21 Unofilm, Cinecittà Luce, Rai Cinema, Les Films d'Ici, Arte France Cinéma
Polish distributor Aurora Films
language Italian, English
colouration colour