Coming to virtual cinemas today, Friday, January 22:
Toronto, IDFA, New York, London, Reykjavik, AFI Fest, Chicago, El Gouna, Busan
An atmospheric immersion into life in the shadow of ISIS.
Filming for several years in the fringes of Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, and Lebanon, acclaimed Italian filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi crafts a meditation on everyday existence despite the trauma and legacy of unrest and devastation wrought by ISIS and other forces. As in his other recent films, Rosi is not particularly concerned with identifying or developing individual subjects; instead, he provides viewers with more panoramic glimpses of various Everymen, traversing borders without identifying exact locations. Scenes follow in quick succession of military troops on the march, bereaved mothers, boys fishing and hunting, a couple enjoying a relatively quiet moment on a rooftop, children in therapy sessions, psychiatric patients rehearsing a play. Some figures recur, others are seen only once. Conflict is always present, whether immediate or hovering in the periphery. While the film is unquestionably artfully composed, presenting striking, and occasionally indelible, images, its meditative, associative collage approach ultimately tempers its impact.