The Gene Siskel Film Center presents programming in the spirit of the Black Harvest Film Festival all year long!
2015, Jonas Carpignano, Italy, 107 min. With Koudous Seihon, Alassane Sy.
"This calm, hardheaded film never sacrifices it toughness...impressive for the degree to which it lends its characters complex human dimensions." — Stephen Holden, The New York Times
"Tender, devastating...No other film at this year’s Cannes Film Festival hits such a profoundly topical note." — Eric Kohn, Indiewire
In his first feature, Italian/African-American filmmaker Carpignano provides a timely and immersive tale of the current immigrant crisis that merges the real-life experiences of charismatic lead actor Seihon and the 2010 immigrant riots that took place in Rosarno in Southern Italy. Pragmatic Ayiva (Seihon) and his volatile friend Abas (Sy) make their way from Burkina Faso to Italy in a harrowing odyssey. Arriving in the promised land, they find that the troubles have just begun — they have three months to find a steady job in a strange and hostile world where they are at the mercy of exploitative bosses and teenage thugs. Carpignano counterpoints the hardships with passages of camaraderie, humor, and tenderness, until frustration and rage produce a climax that extends the story’s relevance far beyond the shores of Italy. In Italian, French, and Arabic with English subtitles. Courtesy of IFC Films. DCP digital. (MR)
2014, Rebecca Cremona, Malta, 101 min. With Lotfi Abdelli, Jimi Busuttil.
"A beautifully-shot dark drama…with a gut-wrenching twist." — Steve Pond, The Wrap
A real-life tragedy involving the shipwreck of a family fishing boat became the impetus for this drama set against the background of a refugee crisis. Director Cremona portrays the dimensions of the human rights dilemma as scores of African migrants adrift in the Mediterranean between Italy and Malta are refused entry to either nation. The lives of a doctor reluctantly drawn into aid work, a fisherman and his little boy, and a Malian immigrant laborer intersect fatefully. SIMSHAR was Malta’s first-ever submission for Academy Awards consideration in 2015. In Maltese and English with English subtitles. Courtesy of Kukumajsa Productions. DCP digital widescreen. (BS)