Gianfranco Rosi Retrospective

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    This year, IDFA proudly presents a retrospective of Gianfranco Rosi, the festival’s Guest of Honor. Although he made only six feature films, Rosi’s approach resulted in masterpieces that provide a unique view of society. His camera shows us how people experience their world and allows us to forget ours. Standing on the side lines of events, he observes them and does not go into polemics or explanations, but his deeply humane point of view remains clear through his unique documentary method. Read Nico Marzano’s essay about the program and explore the titles below.

    Selected for the Retrospective

    Below Sea Level

    • Gianfranco Rosi
    • 2008

    About 200 miles southeast of Los Angeles and 20 feet below sea level, a commune of outcasts lives in the middle of the desert. Gianfranco Rosi follows them at a suitable distance, letting the images and the people speak for themselves.


    • Gianfranco Rosi
    • 1993

    Filmed in black and white, this nonetheless vividly colorful travelogue captures a boat trip along India’s Ganges River. Scenes of locals bathing and ritual water burials combine to evoke the surreal and devotional atmosphere around the sacred river.

    El Sicario, Room 164

    • Gianfranco Rosi
    • 2010

    In the motel room where he once tortured and murdered, an anonymous hit man discusses his work for a Mexican drug cartel. His detailed account describes the mechanisms of organized crime and the dehumanization that comes with it.

    Fire at Sea

    • Gianfranco Rosi
    • 2016

    This urgently topical film shows the intersection of two worlds: everyday life on Lampedusa, and refugees arriving full of fear and anxiety on this small European island, so deceptively close to the African coast.


    • Gianfranco Rosi
    • 2020

    An impressionistic report from the border regions of Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon. In his distinctively stunning style, Gianfranco Rosi shows the people’s resilience and miseries of everyday life in a region scarred by decades of conflict and oppression.

    Sacro GRA

    • Gianfranco Rosi
    • 2013

    Rosi holed up in an invisible part of Rome: along the GRA, the freeway that loops around the city. His warmhearted, sometimes humorous portraits of lives lived in the shadow of progress won him the Golden Lion at the 2013 Venice Film Festival.

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