Emanuele Crialese: The Making of Terraferma: A Drama of Sicilian Immigration

Cornell in Rome Spring 2013 Lecture Series

Emanuele Crialese is an Italian film director of Sicilian origin. In 1991 he left for the U.S. where he studied film direction at New York University. After making several shorts, he directed his first feature-length movie, Once We Were Strangers (1997), in New York. He then decided to return to Italy and met international success with his first Italian work Respiro (2002); shot on Lampedusa island in Sicily, it was awarded the Festival Critics' Week Grand Prize at Cannes. In 2006, his next film, Nuovomondo, won the Silver Lion at the Venice Film Festival.

The themes of elsewhere, of the island as a limit and as a landing place, of contamination as development, are found once again in Terraferma (2011) which won the Special Jury Prize at the 2011 Venice Film Festival. Shot entirely on the island of Linosa, the film tells the story of a family of fishermen whose lives are overwhelmed by the arrival of a group of immigrants. About Terraferma Crialese said, "I would like it to be defined as a film about everyone's freedom to go elsewhere." After the screening of Terraferma, in Italian with English subtitles, Crialese will about his films.