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Venice Film festival: Terraferma

Venice Film festival:  Terraferma

The 68th edition of the Venice Film Festival presented “Terraferma” the new film of Emanuele Crialese, already acclaimed author of “Respiro”, awarded with the Critic’s week Gran Prize at Cannes 2002, the poetic and allegorical story of a psychological instable mother living on the island of Lampedusa. Crialese is also author of “Nuovo Mondo” (The Golden Door)  the story of the migration of an Italian family to New York during the beginning of the 20th century.

“Nuovo Mondo” has been prized at the Venice film Festival 2006 especially for the director’s focus on sound and visual composition and for the original presentation of the iconography of the last century.

Emanuele Crialese, interested in marginality and diversity since the very beginning of his career,  decided to talk again about immigration in his new work in competition at the  Venice Film festival. This time Italy is not the mother land to leave, but the new world for all the people coming from the other side of the Mediterranean sea.

“Terraferma” is the story of two women, a native of the island of Lampedusa and an immigrant.

Both women dream of a better future for their children, not on the island, but on the main land. The fact that Lampedusa, a beautiful island, is the destination for thousands of people every year has no importance for the two women. It is not what they want for their children.

 Life on Lampedusa is difficult for the Puccillo family. 70 year old Ernest does not want to give up his fishing boat. His grandson Philip, 20 years old, whose father was lost at sea, feels trapped between his uncle Nino and his grandfather. Nino gave up fishing in favour of tourism. The young widowed mother of Philip, Giulietta sees that life on the island has turned them all into strangers,  and the only future for her and her son is to leave Lampedusa. One day other travellers arrive on the island, including Sara and her son. Ernest, according to the ancient law of the sea, gives them refuge. This event changes the lives of the Puccillo family.

Crialese himself says: “Terraferma is a film about searching elsewhere for a rhyme or reason or solution for one’s own destiny. About recognising one’s existence as a human being simply because we are out of place, foreigners and unable to stay. I present a reality which we face each day but not in terms of a documentary but rather transforming this reality and adding a fairytale dimension plucked away from time and tangible places. A tale which aims at the spectator’s heart and the gut feeling rather than his reason. I hope that it provokes thought on a rational plane. I started out with the idea of the “stranger“: being a stranger is part of each human being, place or time. No one must be denied the right to search elsewhere”.

Giulia Lombardo

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