October 8, 2016 • 12pm, 108 MIN
The Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery

Fire at Sea

Gianfranco Rosi, 2016

The sleepy Italian island of Lampedusa, some 70 miles from Tunisia, has become a most unexpected travel destination: it is the first stop for hundreds of thousands of refugees streaming into Europe to escape conflict, poverty and persecution throughout Africa and the Middle East. FIRE AT SEA, which won the Berlin Film Festival’s prestigious Golden Bear Award, offers a startlingly poignant glimpse into the small island’s culture as its people encounter waves of desperate newcomers packed into rickety fishing boats, many of whom die before reaching Lampedusa’s coast. As the residents of Lampedusa attempt to go about the quotidian aspects of their day, one of the world’s most tragic crises is literally washing up on their shores.