This past April, a group of U of M students went to see the film Terraferma at the Twin Cities Italian Film Festival. Below is a review of the film, contributed by student Ruth Zwick.
Opening with a beautiful underwater shot that was disorienting and dreamlike, Terraferma moves quickly to tell the story of Filippo and his family’s reaction to a group of illegal immigrants on the island Linosa. Filippo is a young man at odds with his personal desires and his responsibility to support his widowed mother in a time where unemployment is high. The sheer volume of issues touched on by Terraferma could easily have overwhelmed the film and left its viewer lacking clear direction. Instead, creative cinematography and much needed humor keep the narrative on track. Filippo’s naivety and awkward encounters with a female tourist, as well as his uncle’s ridiculous dance-party-on-a-boat business endeavor, contrast darker scenes that take you off guard like a horror film. Though it is clear that complex social and moral issues are extremely simplified, the multifaceted characters of Terraferma keep it out of a land of stereotypes. Submitted as the Italian entry for Best Foreign Language Film in the 84th Academy Awards, Terraferma is well deserving of the praise it has received and worth watching for its sensitive delivery and visual intrigue.