Lampedusa in Winter

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We will probably always associate the eponymous island with the migrants’ tragedy. While it has certainly become a symbol, few people know what the island actually looks like. Jakob Brossman eschews easy categorization through obvious references. He looks carefully at various aspects of reality to create a cohesive, multi-themed and convincing portrait of island life. His camera accompanies the Italian Coast Guard patrolling local waters in search of boats from Africa, he observes migrants protesting on town streets and the people trying to help them. And although the number of arrivals from Africa to Lampedusa outpaces that of anywhere else in Europe, there is not a trace of xenophobic hysteria to be found here. The locals get far more excited about the interruption in ferry service, which links the island to the rest of the world, and a spontaneous fishermen’s strike that blockades the port. No one believes official assurances that the connection will be quickly returned, while a feisty mayor attempts to calm their radical mood. Brossman documents all this with tremendous sensitivity, skillfully combining stories and making excellent choices for protagonists. His film has rhythm and drama; it enthralls with shot composition and well considered editing. The director avoids being overly literal and manages to create a truly fascinating and beautiful portrait of Europe on the border, literally and figuratively. [kw]

Lampedusa in Winter / Zima na Lampedusie  
93 ' , 2015 Austria, Italy, Switzerland / cinematography: Christian Flatzek, Serafin Spitzer / editing: Nela Märki / production: Finali Film & Wortschatz Produktion