Archive of films Fire at Sea / Fuocoammare

Italy / France
2016, 108 min

Section: Horizons
Year: 2016

The Mediterranean island of Lampedusa – for some a safe haven, for others a graveyard. Every day the local inhabitants look on sadly at one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes of our day. It’s impossible to be indifferent to the incalculable human suffering because the work denies us the chance of looking away from the cruel reality. Golden Bear winner for Best Film at this year’s Berlinale.


Twelve-year-old Samuel doesn’t always want to go to school; he’d rather climb a tree with his slingshot or goof off at the dock. His satisfied childhood, however, unfolds in nontraditional surroundings, on an island in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea that has become a destination point for Africans setting out across the stormy waters in rickety vessels. Lampedusa – for some a safe haven, for others a graveyard. A world of its own cut off from the rest of Europe, and known perhaps best by Dr. Bartolo, the only doctor on the island… As if through the eyes of local inhabitants, Gianfranco Rosi’s film takes in the rocky landscape and the surrounding sea where one of the greatest humanitarian catastrophes of our time is unfolding. The comprehensive creative approach eschews efforts to provoke controversy or superficial polemics. Although one can perceive the phenomenon of immigration in a number of ways, it is impossible to be indifferent to the incalculable human suffering. Especially as the documentary, awarded the Golden Bear at this year’s Berlinale, taps into the urgency of the situation, barring the possibility of looking away from the cruel reality.

Martin Horyna

About the director

Gianfranco Rosi (b. 1964, Asmara, Eritrea) left his country of birth at age 13 due to the extended war between Eritrea and Ethiopia. He studied in Italy for several years before moving in 1985 to the United States where he graduated from New York University Film School. His first director-producer film Boatman (1993) screened at Sundance, Locarno, Toronto, Karlovy Vary and elsewhere. Below Sea Level (2008), which investigates a small community of social outcasts in the California desert, won the Orizzonti Award at Venice, was victorious at the One World fest in Prague, and was nominated for a European Film Award. El sicario – Room 164 (2010), about a member of a Mexican drug cartel, received the FIPRESCI Prize at Venice among other awards from festivals around the world. Sacro GRA (2013), a mosaic of portraits from the outskirts of Rome, was the first documentary to win the Golden Lion for Best Film at Venice.


Artcam Films
Rašínovo nábřeží 6, 128 00, Praha 2
Czech Republic
Tel: +420 221 411 619
Fax: +420 221 411 699

Doc & Film International
13, rue Portefoin, 750 03, Paris
Tel: +33 142 775 687
Fax: +33 142 773 656

About the film

Color, DCP

Section: Horizons
Director: Gianfranco Rosi
Screenplay: Gianfranco Rosi
Dir. of Photography: Gianfranco Rosi
Editor: Jacopo Quadri
Art Director: Fabrizio Federico
Producer: Donatella Palermo, Gianfranco Rosi, Roberto Cicutto, Paolo Del Brocco, Serge Lalou, Camille Laemlé, Martine Saada, Olivier Père
Production: Stemal Entertainment, 21uno Film, Istituto Luce Cinecittà, Rai Cinema, Les Films d'Ici, Arte France Cinéma
Cast: Samuele Pucillo, Mattias Cucina, Samuele Caruana, Pietro Bartolo
Sales: Doc & Film International
Distributor: Artcam Films


Sylvie Leray

Distributor, Producer

Hannah Horner

Sales Agent


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