Language: Italian, Sicilian, Amharic
Country: Italy, France
Director: Emanuele Crialese
Music: Franco Piersanti
Cinematography: Fabio Cianchetti
Rubel Tsegay Abraha
A KVIFF screening of TERRAFERMA, last year Oscar’s Best Foreign Language Film entry from Italy. The Mediterranean island scenery no wonder captures a feel good cheerfulness since the very first shots of blue sea, a consistent locale as in director Emanuele Crialese’s previous island-focused films GOLDEN DOOR 2006 and RESPIRO 2002, but the film has challenged on a more contentious topic, the illegal immigrants coming from the African land, since the island in the film is the very first ground they can set foot on, and subsequently their unexpected arrival will predictably prompts the life of local islanders, with a considerable foil of mainland tourists, the film has acquired quite doable folders.
The film is a decent crowd-pleaser, and the narrative is entangled with substantial emotions from its characters (notably the interplay between Donatella Finocciaro and Timnit T.), another spreading branch is our wide-eyed protagonist’s growth pain (Flippo Pucillo is well-chosen in his first leading role, whose innocent appearance and sympathetic personality are typically Italian and radiates great credibility on screen), but unfortunately, both the film and the cast barely miss my 2011 Top 10 list, the competition is tougher and tougher since my accumulated filmography).
The film sets an open ending in the wake of the thorny issue it tackles with, which is a lesser achievement since it somewhat sidesteps a trapped tragic denouement, which reminds me of Matteo Garrone’s REALITY (2012), out of the realistic mire, both films opt a lightly-surrealistic way to put on some thematic impetus, but the difference is quite evident, in REALITY, the final shot is a sublimation to accent the pathologic society, while in TERRAFERMA, it seems to me is a have-to approach to at least culminate the film in its running time, quite an evasive strategy, or maybe it just opens its way to a sequel? Which I doubt the necessity.