A festival triumph of "Fire at sea"
by Gianfranco Rosi
Indeed an amazing achievement. Simple yet sophisticated. Relevant and moving.
Rosi said that his filmmaking is based on giving "less and less", on removing the obvious and (paraphrasing) on not hitting the viewer over the head. He contrasts this method with that of Michael Moore. The "less and less" method actually elongates the working of the film. It allows the story to engrave itself in the viewer's mind. At least in this viewer's mind:
I experienced several well.... explosions related to that film.
First the strongest and the most surprising happened half way through the screening. There is a moment when finally the underlying POV of the director leaped out of the screen and colored everything before and after. The revelation that the two levels of the narrative are after all actually intermingled was only possible because at first the filmmaker played with viewers saying "the locals and the refugees are not connected". The effectiveness of this directorial maneuver worked because he assumed (unfortunately quite right) that we entered the cinema with a low level of consciousness, understanding, empathy and care.
Other explosions of rage, sadness and helplessness keep happening every time my consciousness returns to the subject of the film.