Synopsis by Mark Deming
A man is put in jeopardy when he's forced to help a family with nowhere to turn in this drama from Italian filmmaker Emanuele Crialese. Ernesto (Mimmo Cuticchio) is an elderly fisherman who lives on the Sicilian island of Linosa. The fishing business has gone into a slump and many on the island have either opened businesses catering to tourists or moved elsewhere, though his 20-year-old grandson Filippo (Filippo Pucillo) works with him over the objection of his more pragmatic mother (Donatella Finocchiaro). Political and economic unrest in North Africa has caused a growing number of people to flee the country in hopes of relocating in Europe, and the Sicilian government has firmly warned sailors not to pick up Africans attempting to enter the country illegally by boat. When Ernesto sees a young man (Rubel Tsegay Abraha) and his pregnant mother (Timnit T.) drowning after fleeing a small boat, his conscience forces him to rescue them, and when the woman gives birth not long after they reach shore, the old man and his family become unwitting criminals as they give the immigrant family a place to stay. Terraferma received its North American premiere at the 2011 Toronto International Film Festival.
fisherman, grandson, immigrant, political-unrest