by Gianfranco Rosi
How much pain, how much life makes up the existence of people in the Middle East?
In this film – shot over a three-year period along the borders between Syria, Iraq, Kurdistan and Lebanon – Gianfranco Rosi gives voice to a human drama that transcends geographical divisions and calendar time, illuminating with encounters and images the daily life that lies behind the continuous tragedy of civil wars, brutal dictatorships, foreign invasions and interference and finally the murderous apocalypse of ISIS. But war does not appear directly: we hear it in the mournful dirges of mothers, in the stammering of permanently wounded children, in a play about the senselessness of politics performed by patients in a psychiatric hospital. Different stories, to which the narration confers a unity that goes beyond the conflicts. A street singer, dressed by his beloved, awakens the city praising the Almighty.
A poacher sets out in search of game among the reeds, oil wells, the crackle of gunfire. Female Peshmerga guerrillas defend their grace and battle stations with the same determination. Islamic State terrorists are crammed to the rafters in a prison that attempts to contain fundamentalist hatred. The anguish of a Yazidi mother confronted with upsetting messages from her daughter still held prisoner by ISIS. Ali, a teenager, who toils at night and at dawn to bring bread to his siblings... All around, and within the consciousness of all, signs of violence and destruction: but in the foreground is the humanity that reawakens every day from a nocturne that seems infinite.
“Notturno” is a film of light made of the dark material of history.
Gianfranco Rosi, born in Asmara, in Eritrea, with Italian and American nationality, after attending university in Italy, moves to New York and graduates from the New York University Film School in 1985.
Following a journey to India in 1993, he produces and directs Boatman, about a boatman on the banks of the Ganges, which he shows with success at various international festivals including the Sundance Film Festival, the Locarno Film Festival, and the Toronto International Film Festival.
After the short film Afterwords, that was shown at the 57th Venice International film Festival, in 2008 in Slab City, California, he shoots the documentary Below Sea Level about community of homeless people who live on a desert plain 40 meters below sea level: the film wins Best Film in the Horizons section of the Venice International Festival and at Doc/It. It also takes the Grand Prix, the Prix des Jeunes al Cinéma du Réel, the prize for best film at the One World Film Festival in Prague, the Vittorio De Seta Prize at Bif&st 2009 and is nominated for Best Documentary at the European Film Awards 2009.
In 2010 he shoots El Sicario – Room 164, a filminterview from a story by Charles Bowden about a hitman on the run from Mexican drug cartels. The film wins the Fipresci Award at the Venezia Film International Festival, the Doc/It prize for Best Documentary of the Year, Best Film at DocLisboa in 2010 and at Doc Aviv in 2011.
In 2013 he wins the Golden Lion at Venice with Sacro GRA, the film where he tells the story of hitherto unseen humanity that lives around the Grande Raccordo Anulare (the ring road highway) that circles Rome. It is the first time a documentary is awarded the Golden Lion.
In 2016, Rosi wins the Golden Bear for Best Film at the Berlin International Festival with Fuocoammare, stories from the island of Lampedusa, about its inhabitants, fishermen and migrants. While in Italy it wins the Italian Golden Globe, receives two nomination for the David of Donatello Awards and wins a Nastro d’Argento, Fire at Sea (its international title) will bring Lampedusa, an island that is a symbol of migration, to the whole world at festivals and in movie theaters, gaining further recognition with a win at the European Film Awards and a nomination for the Oscar for Best Documentary.
2008: Below Sea Level
2010: El Sicario – Room 164
2013: Sacro Gra
2016: Fire at Sea- (Fuocoammare)
Directed by: Gianfranco Rosi
Camera and Sound: Gianfranco Rosi
Editor: Jacopo Quadri
Editing collaboration: Fabrizio Federico
A production: 21Uno Film- Stemal Entertainment with Rai Cinema
With the contribution of: DG Cinema Audiovisivo- Mibact
With the support of: Euroimages
In association with: Instituto Luce- Cinecittá
Produced by: Donatella Palermo, Gianfranco Rosi, Serge Lalou and Camille Laemlè, Orwa Nyrabia, Eva-Maria Weerts
A coproduction: Italy- France- Germany; Les Films d'Ici
in coproduction with Arte France Cinéma
with the participation of Arte France, CNC, Cine+, No Nation Films, Mizzi Stock Entertainment
in association with Dhoa Filminstitute
with the support of Medienboard Berlin Brandenburg
Original title: Notturno
International title: Notturno
Duration (in minutes): 100 min.
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1
Original Language: Arabic, Kurdish
Countries of Production: Italy, France, Germany
Production Companies: 21UNO FILM, STEMAL ENTERTAINMENT, RAI CINEMA
Co-production companies: Les Films D’ici, No Nation Films Gmbh, Mizzi Stock Entertainment
With support of: Mibact, Eurimages, Istituto Luce-Cinecittá