In A CIAMBRA, a small Romani community in Calabria, Pio Amato is desperate to grow up fast. At 14, he drinks, smokes and is one of the few to easily slide between the region's factions - ... See full summary »
Inspired by real events, A Chjana (The Plain) tells the story of Ayiva, a young migrant worker who seeks to reunite with his best friend in the wake of the most significant race riot in Italian history.
Within Brooklyn's ultra-orthodox Jewish community, a widower battles for custody of his son. A tender drama performed entirely in Yiddish, the film intimately explores the nature of faith and the price of parenthood.
Setting aside the humanitarian aspects, "Mediterranea" works great as a movie
"Mediterranea" (2015 release from Italy; 110 min.) brings the story of Aviya and Abas, two guys from Burkina Faso (in central Africa). As the movie opens, we see them starting the long journey towards Tripoli (2700 mi. away), by truck and by foot, through deserts and towns. At one point, the group of about 20 is ambushed by 'desert pirates', and by the time they are to depart from Tripoli, they have nothing left but the shirts on their backs, literally. After a dangerous trek across the Mediterranean See in a Zodiac boat, they arrive in Italy, and hook up with an acquaintance already living in Rosarno, in southern Italy (just past Sicily). What will become of these guys? How will they be treated by the locals? To tell you more would spoil your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.
Couple of comments: this is the debut film of writer-director Jonas Carpignano, and what a movie this is! I cannot claim to know whether what we see here is realistic, although it certainly resembles the images that we have seen (time and again) on TV of the many migrants from Africa, in a desperate quest to make it to Europe. This movie premiered at Cannes 2015, so this was probably filmed in the Fall of 2014, if not earlier. In other words; before the trickle of migrants became a wave until it became a tidal wave. What I'm getting at is that what we see here, as tough as it is, probably was the "good era" before European countries felt besieged. It's also noteworthy that we are not given any information as to why these guys are fleeing their home country: is a civil war going on? or are they simply tired of their economic condition and want to build a better life in Europe? The director does a great job giving us the nuances of what it is like for a small town in Italy to be confronted with these uninvited migrants from Africa. I was not familiar with any of the lead performers, but the actor portraying Ayiva is nothing short of outstanding. Bottom line: this may be uncomfortable viewing for some, but, even putting aside the humanitarian aspects of these issues, I thought this movie was excellent.
As mentioned, this premiered two years ago, to critical acclaim. It never made it to the theater here, but by happenstance it played last week for one screening only at my local art-house theater here in Cincinnati. That screening, presented by the University of Cincinnati's "European Film Series", was attended very nicely, I'm happy to say. "Mediterranea" is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
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