Fire at Sea

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Fire at Sea
Fire at Sea.jpg
Film poster
Directed byGianfranco Rosi
Produced byGianfranco Rosi
Paolo Del Brocco
Donatella Palermo
Written byGianfranco Rosi
Music byStefano Grosso
CinematographyGianfranco Rosi
Edited byJacopo Quadri
Distributed by01 Distribution
Release date
  • 13 February 2016 (2016-02-13) (Berlin)
  • 18 February 2016 (2016-02-18) (Italy)
Running time
108 minutes
Box office$1 million[1]

Fire at Sea (Italian: Fuocoammare) is a 2016 Italian documentary film directed by Gianfranco Rosi.[2][3] It won the Golden Bear at the 66th Berlin International Film Festival.[4][5] The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature at the 89th Academy Awards.[6] It was also selected as the Italian entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the awards but it was not nominated in that category.[7][8]


The film was shot on the Sicilian island of Lampedusa during the European migrant crisis, and sets the migrants' dangerous Mediterranean crossing against a background of the ordinary life of the islanders.[9][10] The main characters are a twelve-year-old boy from a local fishing family and a doctor who treats the migrants on their arrival.[10][11] In his acceptance speech for the Golden Bear award, Rosi stated that his intention was to heighten awareness of the migrant situation, saying, "It's not acceptable that people die crossing the sea to escape from tragedies."[9]


The film has a 94% rating from Rotten Tomatoes, based on 83 reviews with an average rating of 7.8 out of 10,[12] and a rating of 87 out of 100 from Metacritic.[13]

Meryl Streep, chair of the Berlin jury, called the film "a daring hybrid of captured footage and deliberate storytelling that allows us to consider what documentary can do. It is urgent, imaginative and necessary filmmaking."[9] Andrew Pulver, writing for The Guardian, described the documentary as having "a distinctive, humane cinematic style" and being "a collection of tiny details that morph, almost by osmosis, into a shocking excavation of the mechanics of crisis."[10] He praises it for approaching the tragedy indirectly, via the people of Lampedusa.[10] The film was also appreciated by the Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi, who stated that he would carry with him 27 DVDs of the film to a session of the European Council. Each one of the copies was given to a head of state or government of the European Union.[14]

The Economist thought it had "beautiful cinematography and searing images, but also odd choices and murky priorities" and took issue with the film's lack of relation between the refugee crisis and the impact it had on the lives of the islanders interviewed.[15]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Fuocoammare (Fire at Sea)". Box Office Mojo. Retrieved 23 September 2016.
  2. ^ "Jan 11, 2016: Berlinale Competition 2016: Another nine films selected". Berlinale. Archived from the original on 12 January 2016. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  3. ^ "Berlin Film Festival Adds Nine Films to Competition Lineup". Variety. Retrieved 11 January 2016.
  4. ^ "Berlin: 'Fire at Sea' Wins Golden Bear for Best Film". Variety. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  5. ^ "Prizes of the International Jury". Berlinale. Retrieved 20 February 2016.
  6. ^ Samuelson, Kate (24 January 2017). "Here Are the 2017 Oscar Nominations". Time. Retrieved 24 January 2017.
  7. ^ Redazione (26 September 2016). "Oscars: I migranti di 'Fuocoammare' in corsa per gli Oscar". La Repubblica. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  8. ^ Anderson, Ariston (26 September 2016). "Oscars: Italy Selects 'Fire at Sea' for Foreign-Language Category". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 26 September 2016.
  9. ^ a b c "Berlin film festival: Fire at Sea wins Golden Bear". BBC News. Retrieved 21 February 2016.
  10. ^ a b c d Andrew Pulver (22 February 2016). "Why Fire at Sea sailed away with the Berlin film festival's Golden Bear". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  11. ^ "Berlin film festival awards top prize to refugee crisis documentary Fire at Sea". The Guardian. 21 February 2016. Retrieved 23 February 2016.
  12. ^ "Fire at Sea (Fuocoammare)". Retrieved 14 February 2018.
  13. ^ "Fire at Sea". Retrieved 10 November 2016.
  14. ^ "Migranti, Renzi: Porto 27 dvd di Fuocoammare al Consiglio europeo". Corriere della Sera. 7 March 2016. Retrieved 7 March 2016.
  15. ^ "The odd, award-winning migration movie "Fire at Sea"". Retrieved 10 June 2016 – via The Economist.

External links[edit]