The release of the new Emanuele Crialese‘s film “Ashore” (Terraferma), caused havoc during the last Venice Film Festival, because it’s based on a very uncomfortable subject for Italy, that is immigration and the never-ending arrivals of poor shipwrecked, who come from poorest country, on board of overcrowded raft. Released in film theater on the 7 September 2011, the film, written by a Sicilian director, breaks into the 68 Venice Film Festival as one of the pearl among Italian films of the last years.

The director tells a very important story, with a thousands of faceting, as it seems a modern tale, in spite of the realistic and actual subject of the plot. Italian sea, in the last years, is the background for a lot of unexpected arrivals, and in relation with this phenomenon there are millions of opposite opinions with political or human hypothesis. Crialese in “Ashore” draws on from the news item, in order to direct however a proper story, seen with the eyes of a twenty years old guy, Filippo, who lives on a nameless Sicilian island and who has to take very important choices. To rescue people in the sea seems forbidden by the Italian Law Enforcement Agency, but Filippo and his grandfather don’t hesitate when they have to rescue some of the weak and exhausted immigrants with them fishing boat. For this reason, they will have problem with the police but they don’t stop. This film is composed by immigration and the way in which the director faces the problem of the illegal landing, but this is just the frame of the real meaning of the story.

These subjects are just used to deal with a deeper argument: an heavy and absorbing story which deals with the otherness, the love for the people and the compassion for those who couldn’t be considered invaders but people who don’t felt at ease in their countries and they are looking for peace. Filippo‘s family helps in particular Sara, a poor woman discovers in the sea and played by Timnit T: a true shipwrecked who came to Italy in terrible conditions, and who was directly contacted by Crialese, in order to discover her story and to tell it to the world. Sara and Filippo‘s mother, Giulietta, played by Donatella Finocchiaro, are two equals women, who just belong to different cultures, but who wanted to have a new life with their children. With this strong but at the same time soft relation, the director would show that there aren’t differences between they and us, the main difference is the luck to live in the right place. With a convincing cast, from Beppe Fiorello to Donatella Finocchiaro and the young Filippo Pucillo, “Ashore” involves the audience in an emotional vortex, by dipping him in an oblivion on the line between reality and myth, with the description of true and strong human relations and a aesthetic research who arrives to her noble and emotional aim.

Unforgettable scenes are the comparison between Sara and Giulietta in an hug which talks without words, the group dive from the touristic boat, that becomes also the official poster of the film because is magic and spectacular for the visual point of view. And finally the rescue of the immigrants ashore, where also the people on holiday abandon the relax in order to help the immigrants who need them.


(Traduzione di Silvia Mariani)