Even when the important reactions have been combined, Italian movies have confirmed a lot stronger than standard at this yr’s Venice Movie Pageant, with a notable resurgence of style filmmaking within the likes of Adagio and Enea. Paradoxically, Matteo Garrone, the one native director within the choice whose precise inventory in commerce is style of all stripes — gangster realism (Gomorrah, Dogman), satirical comedy (Actuality), and baroque fantasy (Story of Tales) — arrived this yr with a blisteringly topical drama that is likely to be his most conventional, and greatest, but.
Migrant goals are a scorching subject this yr, and Garrone’s Io Capitano (actually “Me Captain”) follows arduous on the heels of Agnieszka Holland’s Inexperienced Border, which covers the identical subject from a distinct angle: the place Holland’s movie offers with the expertise of immigrants as they arrive in Europe, Garrone’s movie fills in a few of that backstory, displaying the punishing technique of unlawful migration from the viewpoint of two Senegalese youngsters, Seydou (Seydou Starr) and Moussa (Moustapha Fall).
Seydou lives together with his widowed mom and little sisters in Dakar. They’re poor and dwell cramped collectively underneath the roof of a tiny, ramshackle home, however household life is blissful. Actually, it opens with a joyous sabar celebration, with Seydou slapping away on the tribal drums whereas the ladies dance like loopy in neon wigs and fancy garments. Seydou’s mom thinks he has been taking part in soccer all day, however the 16-year-old has secretly taken a day job as a laborer, being paid money in hand. His cousin Moussa acts as treasurer and buries the accumulating cash within the sand, digging it out once in a while to depend and recount it.
The cash represents a dream they’ve: To journey to Europe and turn into well-known pop stars. After the sabar, Seydou blurts this out to his mom, who’s livid and forbids it. Seydou will get chilly toes, however Moussa insists they press on with the plan. Available in the market they meet a person they’ve been informed will assist them, however he refuses to take action. “Europe is nothing like you imagine,” he yells at them. The boys are shocked to listen to that Europe is chilly, and that homeless folks sleep on the streets. “If you want to die, go!” he shouts. Once more, Seydou demurs, however Moussa is undeterred. They’ll turn into stars, and of that he’s certain. “White people will be asking for your autograph,” he tells Seydou.
After a surreal encounter with a witchdoctor, and a visit to the cemetery to safe the required permission to depart from the spirits of their lifeless ancestors, the 2 boys take off in the course of the night time, taking an extended, cramped bus trip to Agadez in Niger, the primary leg of a journey that can take them by means of the Sahara Desert to Tripoli, and from there to Italy. Alongside the best way, they’re fleeced for faux passports — $100 every — that show ineffective on the subsequent checkpoint, since they’re carrying the identical garments in a passport supposedly issued two years earlier than. One other $50 every modifications fingers, and off they go.
Garrone will later present the gap the boys intend to journey, and it’s fairly merely insane. Additionally it is extremely harmful; our bodies litter the desert; and the psychopathically gonzo Libyan mafia ambush their celebration, forcing everybody to drink a laxative potion to flush out any hidden money. When they’re taken to a disused jail, the place extra money will probably be extorted. Seydou and Moussa are separated within the mayhem, however Seydou presses on, bitterly regretting his choice to depart however real looking about the truth that he can now not flip again.
DoP Paolo Carnera — who additionally shot the luminous Adagio — captures all this with beautiful, immersive, immediacy, vividly rendering the romantic great thing about the desert, regardless of the human price of its lethal siren name. There are flashes of magic realism, too, as when Seydou tries to save lots of the lifetime of a lady who merely can’t take one other step, or the time he summons the witchdoctor to inform his mom he loves her.
Regardless of its technical class — and the movie is close to flawless in that respect — the largest achievement in Garrone’s movie is its casting. Utilizing non-professionals present in an open name, it’s genuine at each step of its audacious journey. Star of the present, nevertheless, is newcomer Starr, who performs the lead and carries the entire film on his shoulders like a seasoned professional, nailing your entire movie in a last, heart-breaking close-up that depicts a seething confluence of contradictory feelings in a approach there simply isn’t a phrase for. If there’s extra profound second at this pageant, and even this yr, I’d prefer to see it.
Title: Io Capitano
Pageant: Venice (Competitors)
Director: Matteo Garrone
Screenwriters: Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso, Massimo Ceccherini, Andrea Tagliaferri
Forged: Seydou Sarr, Moustapha Fall, Issaka Sawagodo, Hichem Yacoubi
Working time: 2hr 1 min
Gross sales Agent: Pathé Movies