After the India of Varanasi’s boatmen, the American desert of the dropouts, and the Mexico of the narcoassassin, Gianfranco Rosi has decided to tell the tale of a part of his own country, roaming and filming for over two years in a minivan on Rome’s giant ring road –the Grande Raccordo Anulare, or GRA- to discover the invisible worlds and possible futures harbored in this area of constant turmoil. Elusive characters and fleeting apparitions emerge from the background of the winding zone: a nobleman from the Piemonte region and his college student daughter who share a one-room efficiency in a modern apartment building along the GRA; a botanist who makes audio recordings of the interiors of palm trees to detect and then poison the insects that are devouring them like a plague; a modern day cigar-smoking prince who does gymnastics on the roof of his castle, surrounded by the sea of new apartment buildings proliferating around him; a paramedic in an ambulance eternally on duty treating car accident victims along the vast road; and an eel fisherman who lives on a houseboat beneath an overpass along the Tiber River. Far from the iconic sites of Rome, the GRA is a repository of stories of those at the edges of the ever-expanding universe of the capital city.
CAST & CREW
Marco Visalberghi, Carole Solive
Director of Photography
Doclab La Femme Endormie RAI Cinema
Gianfranco Rosi was born in Asmara, Eritrea. After attending university in Italy, in 1985 he moved to New York and graduated from the New York University Film School. Following a journey to India, he produced and directed his first documentary film, Boatman, screened with success at various international film festivals including the Sundance IFF, the Locarno IFF and the Toronto IFF. In 2008, Below Sea Level, shot in Slab City, California, won the Orizzonti Award at the Venice IFF. The film also won the Grand Prix and the Prix des Jeunes at the Cinéma du Réel Festival in 2009, the Prize for Best Documentary at the One World FF in Prague, the Vittorio De Seta Prize at the Bif&st 2009 for the Best Documentary and was nominated as Best Documentary at the European Film Awards in 2009. In 2010, he shooted the feature El Sicario, Room 164, a film-interview about a killer from the Mexican drug cartels and won several prizes. In 2013, he made the documentary feature, Sacro GRA, that won the Golden Lion at the Venice IFF.
Boatman (1993), Afterwords (2001), Below Sea Level (2008), El Sicario, Room 164 (2010), Sacro GRA (2013), Fire at Sea (2016).