LONDON – Showing at the London Film Festival, the winner of the Golden Lion at Venice is Gianfranco Rosi’s Sacro GRA, which is without doubt THE best documentary about a Roman ring road that I have ever seen.
And you have my permission to put that on the poster.
It makes all the other documentaries about Roman ring roads look pedestrian by comparison, obliterates them in fact. To find a comparison worthy of it, we’d have to look to Jean Luc Godard’s 1965 classic Autoroute du Soliel or Reiner Werner Fassbinder’s Rosenfelder Ring. Rosi’s film even dares to be mentioned in the same breath of David Lean’s magnificent epic The A595 to Barrow in Furness.
Collecting stories from a variety of Italian odd-bods – from an eel fisherman to a roadside prostitute, an ambulance worker to a cigar chomping nobleman – the film tells tales of the margins, the periphery that is usually only glimpsed as the cars roar by. Keenly observed and with a nice ear for the ludicrous in ordinary conversation, Rosi’s film offers a view of Roman life far from the familiar picture postcard settings.