Far from the iconic sites of Rome comes an award-winning documentary, Sacro GRA, about the edges of the capital city.
Director: Gianfranco Rosi
Running Time: 93mins
Release Date: November 7
The GRA (Grande Raccordo Anulare – literally, ‘Great Ring Junction’) is the large ring road that circles Rome, far from the iconic sites of the city.
The documentary, Sacro GRA, begins with poetic intertitles that describe the ring road around Rome as ‘rings around Saturn’ upon a black background.
Sacro GRA looks at a repository of stories of those at the edges of the ever-expanding universe of the capital city.
The documentary explores the lives of the different people who work and life near the GRA, most of whom seem to be working class citizens and through real footage we discover what these people have to do every day of their lives from eel fishers to a modern-day prince.
One of the unique features about this documentary is the fact that there is no voice to camera pieces which is unusual for a documentary.
The film instead has people talking to other people or themselves rather than directly to the camera and even sometimes no dialogue at all, which adds to the realism of the documentary.
Another unique element to the film is, despite a name being slipped into conversation, hardly anyone is given a name.
For UK and US audiences this seems bizarre as documentaries that we are used to will often have an intertitle of who the person is and why they are being filmed in the documentary.
Music is also very sparse throughout the documentary until the very end of the documentary but this can be suggested that the director was trying to get across the realism of these people and not having a music undertone would complement this and overall it does.
The camera is very much static with rarely any movement and when it does move it can only be described as a handheld camera.
It does occasional pans left to right and gives the audience a view of parts of the city that many people would not know about or even look at.
A way to describe the film would suggest that it is bordering along the lines of voyeuristic.
A lot of scenes show other people doing things whether that would be working or sat talking and one particular section of the film which really reinforces the voyeurism of the film is when the camera is looking into people’s homes from a high angle shot.
This makes you wonder whether they knew they were being filmed or whether the director hid the camera.
To add to the voyeurism of the documentary, the end scene reinforces this through the shot of multiple cameras all looking at the GRA.
This could suggest that not only are we watching people but we are constantly being watched by someone else.
Directed by award-winning Gianfranco Rosi, Sacro GRA was the first ever documentary to win the Golden Lion at the Venice International Film Festival (2013).
The documentary is an interesting look at the lives and opinions of people living near the GRA.