Sacro GRA. 2013. Italy. Directed by Gianfranco Rosi. In Italian; English subtitles. 95 min.
Sacro GRA. 2013. Italy. Directed by Gianfranco Rosi. “After the India of Varanasi’s boatmen, the American desert of the dropouts, and the Mexico of the killers of drugtrade, Gianfranco Rosi has decided to tell the tale of a part of his own country, roaming and filming for over two years in a minivan on Rome’s giant ring road—the Grande Raccordo Anulare, or GRA—to discover the invisible worlds and possible futures harbored in this area of constant turmoil. Elusive characters and fleeting apparitions emerge from the background of the winding zone: a nobleman from the Piemonte region and his college student daughter sharing a one-room efficiency in a modern apartment building along the GRA; a botanist making audio recordings of the interiors of palm trees to detect and then poison the insects that are devouring them like a plague; a modern day cigar-smoking prince doing gymnastics on the roof of his castle, surrounded by the sea of new apartment buildings proliferating around him; a paramedic in an ambulance eternally on duty treating car accident victims along the vast road; and an eel fisherman living on a houseboat beneath an overpass along the Tiber River. Far from the iconic sites of Rome, the GRA is a repository of stories of those at the edges of the ever-expanding universe of the capital city” (70th Venice International Film Festival notes). Winner of the Golden Lion at the 2013 Venice Film Festival—the first documentary to win that honor.