Lampedusa, located 70 kilometers off the African coast and 120 kilometers from Sicily, has become a landing point for over 400,000 African and Middle Eastern migrants, all believing they’ll find safe harbor somewhere in Europe. Having spent months filming on the island, director Gianfranco Rosi returns with this quietly observed historical document driven by dual narrative-movers. Samuel spends his days decimating cacti with a slingshot. Unable to drown the nausea associated with mal de mer, it’s doubtful the 12-year-old boy will follow in his fisherman father’s footsteps. He could grow up to find employment with the film’s other center of attention, the Italian Coastguard. But their empathy can extend only so far given the sheer size of their thankless task. Stripped of a manipulative score and wheedling narration, the film forces the viewer to confront the images head on. Who needs voiceovers when a director’s camera has this much to say? (2016) — Scott Marks
This movie is not currently in theaters.