Notturno was filmed in the war-scarred border areas of Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, and Lebanon. The history of the region is one of oppression, invasions, terrorism, military coups, foreign interference, corrupt regimes, and dictatorship. Those who live there nevertheless try to live normal lives, as best they can.
The film documents the daily life of a family sleeping and living in a single room, a duck hunter’s nightly canoe trips, and the preparations for a theater performance in a care home. The scenes are often serene, sometimes even humorous, but in the background we regularly hear the sound of gunfire. Desolate, muddy refugee camps show the lasting aftermath of all the conflict. The testimonies of young children describing the horrors they have seen committed by ISIS fighters are chilling.
Gianfranco Rosi (Sacro GRA, Fuocoammare), the documentary maker who films with the eye of a painter, allows the scenes to speak for themselves. The beautiful camerawork, often in evening or morning light, is the common thread in his quest for humanity.