Io Capitano

Io Capitano
Original title:Io Capitano
Director:Matteo Garrone
Running time:121 minutes
Release date:Not communicated
Seydou and Moussa, two 16-year-old Senegalese boys, decide to leave their homeland for Europe. But their dreams and hopes of a better life are soon dashed by the dangers of the journey. Their only weapon in this odyssey will remain their humanity.

Mulder's Review

Matteo Garrone's Io Capitano plunges its audience into a poignant and captivating story that unravels the complex web of dreams and despair of the migrant experience. Directed with talent and sensitivity, the film explores the arduous journey of two Senegalese teenagers, Seydou and Moussa, who brave the dangers of illegal immigration in search of a better life in Europe.

The story unfolds against the backdrop of Seydou and Moussa's shared dream of becoming pop stars in Europe, a dream born of the poor but happy lives they lead in Dakar. Matteo Garrone skilfully captures the striking contrast between the vibrant scenes of a sabar festival, brimming with life and culture, and the difficult conditions that propel these teenagers towards distant aspirations. The decision to cast non-professional actors, especially remarkable newcomer Seydou Sarr in the lead role, lends an unrivalled authenticity to the characters and their struggles.

Paolo Carnera's cinematography deserves special mention, serving as a visual feast that oscillates between depicting the romantic allure of the desert and unflinchingly describing the dark realities of the journey. The film's technical prowess is complemented by an evocative electric guitar score, which sets a tone that guides the audience through the unconventional and often heartbreaking exploration of the migrant experience. Instead of reducing the characters to mere victims, the film chooses to focus on their innocence and curiosity, giving the narrative great depth.

Matteo Garrone skilfully weaves a tale that explores the psychological impact of the journey, from encounters with a sorcerer to the despair of extortion and imprisonment. Io Capitano distinguishes itself by addressing the migrant crisis through human stories, transcending political boundaries and offering an immersive experience that resonates deeply. The director's ability to capture the nuances of the journey, both visually and emotionally, contributes to the film's authenticity.

Although the film sometimes flirts with a Western gaze, particularly in its depiction of elements of magical realism, the overall impact of Io Capitano lies in its delicate balance between the brutality of the migratory journey and moments of hope and resilience. The final scenes, in which Seydou plays the role of an improvised captain, offer a powerful, gripping conclusion that remains etched in the viewer's mind.

Io Capitano proves to be a remarkable, multifaceted exploration of the immigrant experience, offering a nuanced portrayal of the challenges faced by those seeking a better life. Matteo Garrone's narrative prowess, combined with outstanding performances and stunning imagery, allow this film to stand out in the cinematic landscape by addressing the urgent and pertinent issue of migration. In a world marked by complexity and nuance, Io Capitano is an emotional and visual triumph that resonates long after the credits roll. Definitely our favorite film in the Golden Globes shortlist for Best Foreign Language Film.

Io capitano
Directed by Matteo Garrone
Written by Matteo Garrone, Massimo Gaudioso, Massimo Ceccherini, Andrea Tagliaferri
Produced by Matteo Garrone, Paolo Del Brocco
Starring Seydou Sarr, Moustapha Fall
Cinematography : Paolo Carnera
Edited by Marco Spoletini
Music by Andrea Farri
Production companies : Archimeden Rai Cinema, Tarantula, Pathén Logical Content Ventures, RTBF, VOO, BE TV
Proximus, Shelter Prod
Distributed by 01 Distribution(Italy), Pathé (France), 
Release dates: 6 September 2023 (Venice), 7 September 2023 (Italy), 5 January 2024 (France)
Running time : 121 minutes

Seen on December 12, 2023 at the Forum des Images (Paris), room 500 as part of the Allociné club.

Mulder's Mark: