Fire at Sea

Synopsis: Situated some 200km off Italy's southern coast, Lampedusa has hit world headlines in recent years as the first port of call for hundreds of thousands of African and Middle Eastern migrants hoping to make a new life in Europe. Rosi spent months living on the Mediterranean island, capturing its history, culture and the current everyday reality of its 6,000-strong local population as hundreds of migrants land on its shores on a weekly basis. The resulting documentary focuses on 12-year-old Samuele, a local boy who loves to hunt with his slingshot and spend time on land even though he hails from a culture steeped in the sea.
Genre: Documentary
Director(s): Gianfranco Rosi
Production: 21UNO FILM
  Nominated for 1 Oscar. Another 14 wins & 24 nominations.
Rotten Tomatoes:
114 min


The island of Lampedusa

has a surface area of 20 square km,

it lies 70 miles from the African

coast and 120 miles from Sicily.

In the past 20 years 400,000

migrants have landed on Lampedusa.

In the attempt to cross

the Strait of Sicily to reach Europe

it is estimated that

15,000 people have died.

What is it, Dick?

How many people?

- How many people?

- 250.

Your position.

We beg you, please.

- Your position!

- In the name of God!

Your position.

Your position.

Please, we beg you.

Your position.

My friend... hello?

And now the news.

Happy Sunday to all, here we are

again with our daily news segment.

Among the bodies recovered yesterday

60 miles off Lampedusa

were the bodies

of women and children.

On the boat that sank

there were 250 people,

so far, 34 bodies

have been recovered,

rescuers have pulled

206 people from the sea.

Poor souls.

To other news:

tomorrow from 10:00 till 12:30

there will be an interruption

in power supply...

Let's see how it turned out.

It's perfect,

only I made it a bit zigzag.

You take aim like this,

you put your other eye like this

and take aim, got it?

You gotta have passion,

if you don't have passion...

You gotta make a slingshot right.

I wasn't holding it right.

Take aim, show me.

Now let go.

See this handle, see how good it is?

I got a dry one,

but it's from a pine tree

and pines trees are resistant.


Olive too, and trees

that you find in people's gardens.

Whenever you see a branch

shaped like a handle, you take it.

This was a bit dry when I got it

but pine trees are resistant.

- Sure.

- It's real strong.

To break this handle

it would take the hand of God.


You have to take aim properly.

Let's say that's a bird...

We bring two torches,

if one goes out,

we've got the other one.


There's no birds here.

Come here.

I saw it, it's over there.


Awesome, Samuele!

You nearly got it.

Go look for a stone.

No, you go get the stone.

Please fast your position.

- 32.1...

- And then?

- Under.

- Okay, 80.52.

We have small children,

please can you help us?

How many people on board?

I think about 150 people.

What kind of boat?

They say 130, 150.

Most of them

are women and children.

Can you help us?

We are sinking.

We are sinking... the same

coordinates, we will not move.

Madam, please, calm down.

We will send rescue,

but you need to calm down.

Save your battery,

I will call you back.

Is she the mother?

Who was the little girl's mother?

The one who got off before.

There should be 13 women,

eight boys and six girls.

Those we've debarked have

no particular health issues,

some have scabies and that's it.

There's just one with chicken pox,

he'll be the last to board.


there's one case of chicken pox

who will be the last to board.

What's this photo?

That's in a bar, in Las Palmas.

And where's this?

Here in the cabin, with the Koreans.

Is he holding an orange?

He was eating an orange

with the peel.

In your cabin,

were those photos already there?

No, we put them up.


We slept in our clothes,

in woollen hose.

- Were you always on the boat?

- Always.

A year without going home?

Six, seven months on board.

- Even a year?

- No, never a year.

- Six, seven months.

- Always at sea?

Always at sea, only sky and sea,

always on board.

And under here were...

Good weather and bad,

we were always on board.

How many in a cabin?

- Three people.

- Maximum three?

Beds underneath and on top?

Bunk beds.

It was a hard life,

it wasn't a nice life.

Why was it hard?

We were always on board, sky and sea.

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Gianfranco Rosi

Gianfranco Rosi (born 30 November 1963) is an Italian director, cinematographer, producer and screenwriter. His film Sacro GRA won Golden Lion at 70th Venice International Film Festival. Sacro GRA is the first documentary film to win Golden Lion in history of the Venice film festival and the first Italian film to win in fifteen years, after Gianni Amelio's The Way We Laughed won the award in 1998. His 2016 film Fire at Sea, a documentary focused on European migrant crisis on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa, won the Golden Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.[1] Rosi is the only documentary filmmaker to win two top prizes at major European film festivals (Cannes, Berlin and Venice) and is currently the only filmmaker besides Michael Haneke, Jafar Panahi, Ang Lee, and Ken Loach to win two top European festival prizes in the 21st century. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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