Below Sea Level

Nov 26, 2016

(Gianfranco Rosi, Italy/US, 2009, DCP, 119 min)

Seattle premiere!

Winner of the 2013 Orizzonti and Doc/It awards at the Venice International Film Festival. Not far from Los Angeles, 35 meters below sea level, lies Slab City, an abandoned desert site of a former military base. A community of nonconformists lives there with no government, water or electricity, with the sole purpose of finding inner peace. Rosi's characters don't have names, only nicknames, to wipe out the past. And yet, just a few photos or words are enough for the buried past to resurface. Seen at a certain angle, the image of Slab City doesn't look like a world at odds with ours, but rather as its most faithful mirror. 

Gianfranco Rosi follows the inhabitants at a suitable distance, and doesn't provide any text or explanation but lets the images and the people speak for themselves: "The film's point of view is simple and naked. It is not the eye of an outsider looking in. It is simply the eye of the place itself witnessing the life of the place."

Click here to listen to Pure Nonfiction’s interview with Rosi about the making of Fire at Sea, his student days at NYU, and his friendship with writer Charles Bowden.

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