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Capturing life on the Italian island of Lampedusa, a frontline in the European migrant crisis.

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Fire at Sea movie full length review - Heart-wrenching docudrama: dying to be free

FIRE AT SEA won the 'Golden Bear' best picture award at the Berlin Film Festival in February.

Part documentary, part docudrama, it was filmed on the Italian island of Lampedusa, which lies roughly midway between Libya and Sicily and has become the first port of call for more than 100,000 migrants from Africa and the Middle East. Over 15,000 have drowned, dying to be set free from terror and tyranny and poverty.

We see the Italian navy rescuing migrants from their sinking overcrowded boats and dinghies; many of them are in a desperate condition after days at sea. We get glimpses of the 'internment camp'where they wait to be processed and sent on to their uncertain future in a Europe which is increasingly unwelcoming.

Alternating with the refugee crisis, the film's main focus is Samuele, a 12-year-old Lampedusan who lives with his fisherman father and grandmother. The family play themselves in the style of a Pasolini movie (minus the sex and the blasphemy). We watch Samuele slurping spaghetti, struggling with homework, playing with a slingshot. They seem to have a very limited awareness of the migrant situation, although that is perhaps only the director's way of pointing up the contrast between the ordinariness of their lives and the appalling tragedy taking place in the waters around their island.

This heart-wrenching film offers no solution to the crisis. How could it? There clearly isn't one.