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  • Jennifer Green

Review: "Io Capitano"

There is cinema that is entertaining, cinema that is educational, cinema that is emotional. And there is cinema that is necessary. Io Capitano falls into the latter category. It’s all those other things as well, but this is a story that takes the collective experiences of many migrants and boils them into one harrowing tale that viewers can’t turn away from, following the odyssey of two teens from Senegal to Italy.

The film had a screening with the Pope and has become an educational tool in Italian schools, according to interviews with director Matteo Garrone. It’s also picked up accolades all year, from best director and best young actor (for star Seydou Sarr) at its premiere in the 2023 Venice Film Festival, to making the shortlist for the International Oscar, to sweeping last week’s Donatello Awards with seven nods, including best film and director.

Garrone has said in interviews that his goal with this film was to put the camera on the other side of the immigration experience, to offer a “reverse shot” and give voice to the traditionally voiceless. He has called himself an “intermediary” in the extent to which he relied on formal and informal consultants (including the extras on set) who had made the trek themselves.

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