Io Capitano: Italys Oscar Submission Turns The Migrant Gaze On Its Head & Could Make A Star Of Seydou Sarr

Welcome to Global Breakouts, Deadline’s fortnightly strand in which we shine a spotlight on the TV shows and films killing it in their local territories. The industry is as globalized as it’s ever been, but breakout hits are appearing in pockets of the world all the time and it can be hard to keep track… So, we’re going to do the hard work for you.

This week we’re featuring Matteo Garrone’s gritty Venice Silver Lion-winning migrant drama, Io Capitano. Italy’s submission for the Best International Feature Film Oscar, it boasts a stunning performance from new talent Seydou Sarr and is drawing audiences in its home country ahead of international rollout later this year.

Related Stories


2023-24 Awards Season Calendar – Dates For Oscars, Emmys, Grammys, Major Film Festivals, Guilds & More


Film Festival Calendar Listings For 2023

Name: Io Capitano
Country: Italy
Producers: Archimede, Tarantula, Rai Cinema, Pathé Films
Distributor: Pathé Films
For fans ofLionSlumdog MillionaireFire at Sea

Veteran Italian filmmaker Matteo Garrone’s stock in trade has traditionally been genre of all stripes: gangster realism (GomorrahDogman), satirical comedy (Reality) and baroque fantasy (Tale of Tales). With Io Capitano, Garrone has fashioned a blisteringly topical drama, that, as Deadline’s Damon Wise wrote in his review, “might be his most traditional, and best, yet.”

Io Capitano tracks the epic journey of Seydou (Sarr) and Moussa (Moustapha Fall), two young men who leave Dakar to make their way across Africa to a dream called Europe. A contemporary Odyssey through the dangers of the desert, the horrors of the detention centers in Libya and the perils of the sea, the project, Garrone has noted, began by listening to actual accounts of people who have survived this ordeal. He decided to orient the camera from their perspective, offering a sort of reverse shot compared to the images we’re used to seeing from a Western perspective — giving voice to those who don’t ordinarily have one.

The spark for Io Capitano came a long time ago, but the film’s producer, Paolo Del Brocco, says he “could not find the right key because he felt the discomfort, the guilt of telling it through the eyes and culture of a Westerner, of a bourgeois Italian.”

Del Brocco adds: “For a director who always chooses different genres in his cinema, he feared the risk of becoming an intruder in a culture that does not belong to him and that exploits for the umpteenth time the tragedy of many migrants. Over time it became clear to him that the solution was to make the film together with those who lived that story.”

Io Capitano currently has a 100% Fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes and scooped the Silver Lion Best Director prize for Garrone after its world premiere in Venice, as well as the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Best Newcomer, non-professional actor Sarr, who charmed the Lido with his emotional acceptance. Io Capitano also took the Best European Film Award in San Sebastian.

“The magic was sparked”

After a long process of searching for his leads in both Italy and France, Garrone turned to Senegal. In an audition organized in a small town about 100 kilometers from Dakar, he found both Sarr and Fall, had them rehearse together, “and the magic was sparked,” says Del Brocco. “He found the truth in their eyes: that was what he was looking for, and he took them without hesitation.” Sarr “carries the whole movie on his shoulders like a seasoned pro, nailing the entire film in a final, heart-breaking close-up that depicts a seething confluence of contradictory emotions in a way there just isn’t a word for,” says Deadline’s review. Sarr, along with Garrone and other cast members, were even treated to an audience with Pope Francis in the week following Venice.

01 Distribution launched the film in 193 cinemas in Italy on September 7; it debuted at No. 3 behind Oppenheimer and The Nun II with 60K admissions. The release was then expanded with the second frame registering a 30% increase in box office. The third session nearly doubled admissions versus the first and play continues to be strong. These types of upticks are rare. From next weekend, school matinee screenings will be added and admissions are expected to easily top 500K, a goal achieved by only six Italian-produced films since December 2022, including three films released during the year-end holidays.

Io Capitano is still in the Top 10 after four frames and through Sunday was closing in on $2.6M from 424K admissions — notably during a period which included nationwide reduced-price ticket schemes. 

Also notable, for the first time in Italy a domestically produced film was distributed only in its original language with Italian subtitles in all theaters. The strategy was aimed at preserving the performances of the actors, “allowing their humanity to touch the viewers directly,” Del Brocco explains.

Io Capitano is also finding an audience amid fierce debate in Italy over government policy surrounding refugees and illegal immigration. Del Brocco says: “In Italy, in particular, we are bombarded daily by images that recount the fates, unfortunately often tragic, of many people who try their luck and risk their lives to arrive in our country: news reports, photos, documentaries, films, a vast material that also risks inuring us to these tragedies, often making us forget that behind the numbers there are people, and that behind every person there is a story.

He adds: “Here, I think Io Capitano succeeds in defeating the perception of the ‘already seen’ because it turns the gaze in the opposite direction, showing everything that happens before the actual voyage… to bring us inside the lives and dreams of these two boys, activating a dynamic of identification that in the unfolding of the story makes us suffer and hope together with them.”

The film is also certain to find audiences abroad. It has sold to multiple international territories, with Pathé currently finalizing a number of further deals. Most of Europe is now covered with prestige distributors who will release between the end of 2023 and early 2024. A U.S. deal is expected and Io Capitano will play AFI at the end of the month.

Must Read Stories

‘Superpower’ Director Sean Penn Blasts Liberals Over Ukraine Stance

‘Exorcist: Believer’ Stalks Franchise-Best $30M+ Bow: Weekend Preview

McCarthy Won’t Seek Speakership After Ouster; Trump Ordered To Shut Up

India’s SonyLIV Adapting Israel’s ‘Magpie’ Following ‘Your Honor’ & ‘Fauda’ Success

Read More About:

Source: Read Full Article