Fire at Sea – Director, Gianfranco Rossi


Another amazing documentary and makes you wonder why only one film needs to win. Again it is a very long movie at nearly two hours which I feel stretches the patience of audiences and can take from the power of the story. This film is about Lampadusa, the small Italian island between Italy and Tunisia where many of the refugees fleeing Africa and the Middle East end up… if they are lucky. Far too many die in the attempt. The movie has no narration but simply shows images of the various characters: the refugees, a young Italian boy who is a resident of the island and a doctor who provides primary care to the islanders and serves as emerg doc and pathologist/coroner and primary care doctor to the refugees. Although the movie is long it is engrossing and as one reviewer said: You really don’t want it to end. It is unresolved and offers no solutions hopeful or not to the crisis of the refugees and work that the Italian authorities provide to serve and help them. As we in Canada see our own small crisis of for now only a few hundred desperate people crossing the border in freezing conditions, we would be well advised to learn more of the struggles current in the Mediterranean. They may well be visited on us at the enormous migration of populations continues in the face of war and climate change. The most powerful scene in the movie in my opinion is a scene in which the doctor shows an image of a young teenage boy covered in chemical burns caused by wearing clothes soaked in sea water and diesel fuel. They may well be fatal he says. He has seen terrible things. Dead children, pregnant women, babies born on the boats dead with their umbilical cords still attached…. He says his colleagues tell him that he must be immune to the horror after seeing so much but he pauses and says: It’s not true, will never be true. A powerful story.