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Fire at Sea – members’ comments

Fire at Sea was shown on 5 April 2018

Members’ rating 67.4%, A – 13, B – 17, C – 17, D – 5, E – 1. 53 votes from 99 members signing in.

Members’ comments

A (excellent) –A really important film – a mere quirk of fate has left us in Chesham or Lampedusa rather than Eritrea. A film that is both gentle and brutal, funny and devastatingly sad, this film should be compulsory viewing for all MPs (including our own) who sometimes cannot find compassion in themselves when voting on whether to help people who are in need – a wonderful film. Moving documentary about the plight of migrants from Africa. I will never forget the doctor saying of his processing of the dead migrants “even after death, another affront”: if only the 27 heads of state would act after seeing such a powerful indictment of humanity. A subtle film, which, by understating, emphasized the suffering of so many blameless victims – beautifully acted. As I didn’t see last week’s film, I found this very harrowing. Superb film showing the lives of all on this island! Wonderful photography! More films like these!! The juxtaposition of the two communities was very stark: whilst I was intrigued by how they might interact, by presenting them independently there was no judgement at all. The only judgement came from the doctor’s speeches. A very moving film – all the messages were there but told in a deceptively simple way. Very touching. Compassionate, poignant – interested in the length of some of the scenes – did they need editing? Amazing juxtaposition of subject matter! I come to the film club to see a different perspective on life: that’s not easy to watch, I feel sombre, at the same time thank you for showing the film. I think we can see for ourselves the stark contrast between the two communities without having it spelt out for us – the people of Lampedusa have everything the migrants will never have now: routine, tradition, peace, security – in fact a Home.


B (very good)Instructive to learn about the staggering logistics of the migration issue – how distressing. Definitely different for a documentary and for a CFS selection – very quiet audience. A remarkable film beautifully produced. Very unassuming and non-judgemental – silently observed yet very informative.

Interesting and clear insight into life on Lampedusa – admirable people doing difficult work – wonderful doctor. A real life tragedy. Remarkable film depicting the juxtaposition between the simple, stable lives of the locals with the chaos and desolation of the incomers – sensitively done, beautifully presented. Taken into another world – how natural they all were – the doctor Bartolo and DJ Samuele. Rather slow, but is a good reminder of how many refugees Italy took in!! A little disjointed, very harrowing for the rescues. A super evocation of island life in the midst of a humanitarian disaster. Great documentary, brilliantly subtle and unobtrusive with lovely editing which emphasized the contrasts beautifully. The scenes of migrants were gripping but by contrast those of the local inhabitants felt rather slow-paced. Not pretty, but necessary. A vital film I’ll recommend as I work to help refugees; however parts were too languid for me, at least.

C (good) – Refugees and doctor fascinating – boy and locals less so, wish there had been less of them, not so much a contrast as unrelated – glad you showed it though. I was surprised that life just goes on as if the migrants don’t exist – but it could have got that message over in far less time! Important film, beautifully filmed but too slow. A difficult film to watch again! Please some comedy next season. Very slow start, some awful scenes of the migrants – all a little disjointed. Thought provoking. So sad about the people in the boats – filmed very well but very slow moving for me. I felt ashamed that this is going on now and we are allowing it – it was disgusting and yet well filmed – night and dark shots excellent. It was a bit slow in places but not necessarily a bad thing! An interesting but sad insight. Strangely for a documentary we never found out anything about the lives of anyone except Samuele. More documentary than film. The boat scene made me seasick – so I didn’t enjoy the following meal scene. Too many unnecessarily long scenes – e.g. eating spaghetti and making the bed.

D (fair) – Some shocking moments but slightly disappointing as a documentary.

Disappointing – a rather muddled film, it did convey the awful rescues and how well they try to help the refugees. Shouldn’t say it was boring because of the subject matter, but it was too long and a bit of a mishmash. The two sides (refugees and islanders) never seemed to connect (the contrast between the two lives) but I didn’t feel it worked. Very all over the place – the scenes in the boats surrounding the migrants are very effective – however the rest with the citizens felt like it needed tons of editing work: there are so many scenes that needed to be shortened or removed altogether: it definitely didn’t need to be nearly two hours long.

E (poor) I expected more about the terrible plight these poor people face – the life of the Lampedusans seemed unaffected but how could that be?


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