Saturday, September 01, 2012


Terraferma / Terraferma.  IT/FR © 2011 Cattleya / Babe Film / France 2 Cinéma. P: Marco Chimenz, Fabio Conversi, Giovanni Stabilini, Riccardo Tozzi. D: Emanuele Crialese. SC: Vittorio Moroni, Emanuele Crialese - story: Emanuele Crialese. DP: Fabio Cianchetti - cameras: Arriflex Cameras - laboratory: Cinecittà Laboratories - negative: Super 35 mm Kodak - digital intermediate: 2K - released on Fuji 35 mm and 2K DCP - 2,35:1. PD: Paolo Bonfini. Cost: Eva Coen. Makeup: Alessandra Vita. Hair: Massimo Gattabrusi. VFX: Stefano Marinoni. M: Franco Piersanti. S: Loïc Prian. ED: Simona Paggi. Casting: Chiara Agnello. C: Filippo Pucillo (Filippo), Donatella Finocchiaro (Giulietta), Beppe Fiorello (Nino), Mimmo Cuticchio (Ernesto), Martina Codecasa (Maura), Tiziana Lodato (Maria), Claudio Santamaria (Finanziere). Loc: Linosa (Agrigento, Sicily). Languages: Italian, Sicilian, Amharic. Released by Cinema Mondo with Finnish / Swedish subtitles by Mika Kaarlela / Markus Karjalainen. 2K DCP viewed at Kinopalatsi 6, Helsinki, 1 September 2012.

After Nuovomondo Emanuele Crialese has made another powerful movie about immigration.

Terraferma is also an impressive contemporary movie about the Mediterranean Sea, set on a Sicilian island "so little that it is not marked on maps".

Life has changed drastically in a generation. Previously there were huge catches of fish with which one could live and raise big families. Now in the sea there are African refugees, dead and alive. Every morning the coast is full of debris, human waste, plastic and other rubbish. The old fishers receive 100.000 Euro if they give up fishing.

The son Pietro disappeared at sea three years ago, and now he is officially given a funeral. Another son is running the tourist business at the beach. Pietro's son, the young Filippo, would like to continue in his father's and grandfather's profession.

The propeller of their boat gets broken from the debris at the sea, and they consider giving up fishing, but they fix the propeller once again, also because Giulietta, Pietro's widow, has rented rooms to three young tourists from Padova and promised them boat trips.

The next day they face a raft overcrowded by African refugees and alert the coast guard, but some of the refugees are about to drown, including a pregnant woman and her little son, and they save them.

The police investigates and finds out that they have no permission to transport tourists, that the boat is in the deceased Pietro's name, and that they have failed to report illegal refugees. The boat is confiscated.

The modern EU law stipulates that private citizens may not intervene in refugee situations. The primordial law of the sea decrees that the drowning one must be saved.

At night Filippo takes the tourist girl Maura to a sea trip with a stolen boat, but when it is surrounded by seabound refugees, he abandons them and even hits them on their hands and arms to prevent them from boarding. This is a shocking turning-point to both Filippo and Maura as Filippo even fails to report the refugees to the police. In the morning the refugees drift to the shore dead or barely alive. Further tragedy is unveiled as it turns out that the African family they are hiding has made a two year trip from their native Ethiopia. In a Libyan prison the mother has been raped in front of her son, and now she has given birth to the baby conceived in that rape. The little son wants to kill the baby because he is afraid that his father who is already in Italy, in Turin, will abandon them. The ports are closely watched by the police, but the desperate Filippo, full of remorse, decides to find a way out.

Terraferma is a good drama on urgent issues.

Shot on photochemical 35 mm film Terraferma has gone through the 2K digital intermediate process. Mostly it looks fine, but at times the restrictions and limitations of the digital become apparent or they have been turned into means of expression.

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