Notturno – Review

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Notturno opened by silence, when the dawn sky was still not illuminated by the sun. Then the boots of the running troop of soldiers broke the silence. Then silence returned, before the next group of soldiers followed. And so on. Silence has indeed closely accompanied the documentary by director Gianfranco Rosi (Fire at Sea), which represents Italy at the 2021 Academy Awards, although it ultimately failed to win a nomination. Top Movie Site

Another silence was as Rosi followed a duck hunter’s boat through a dark marsh. At one point, the sky and water turned orange. Has the sun started to rise? I thought so, until faintly heard the sound of bullets. Apparently the color was caused by a fire due to the outbreak of a shootout. The silence in Notturno is sometimes peaceful, but in truth, it is a remnant of grief and trauma in a different form.

Taking pictures for about three years, Rosi highlighted the daily lives of Syrians, Iraqis and Lebanese, who live near the war zone. Shown how they try to live their daily lives normally. But after years of terror (including from ISIS), “living a normal life” has become a luxury that is almost impossible to buy.

We heard from the soldiers’ chatter that ISIS was going to surrender. Other than the brief shot, we never saw him in person. Because it’s not the war itself that Rosi wants to show, but the inner wounds that exist. Even though she was invisible to the eye, she felt very haunted throughout the film.

Almost no music. Even verbal interactions are kept to a minimum and heard only when the situation does not allow it without them. For example, advice from a teacher to children, who was asked to take a photo of his experience nailing ISIS. The boys spoke casually and described the physical and psychological torture (some beaten, some witnessed beheadings, etc.) as if it were routine. Heartbreaking. Best Movie

In addition to directing, Rosi also manages the sound and cinematography department which is full of beautiful visuals. Behind this beauty hides a “cold” atmosphere that hurts people’s hearts. But Rosi’s briefing also highlighted anomalies. Many moments seem to be staged. Of course, no documentary is without the filmmaker’s involvement, even if it carries styles such as theft on the wall, observation or cinema. But it becomes a problem when the “technique” causes a distraction.

The first concerns the level of silence, too excessive to distort realism. In contrast, his way of reconstructing history contributed to some heartbreaking moments. The two most important points of a mother’s sadness. The first mother complained to the prison where her son died after being tortured, while the next mother listened to voicemail messages from her daughter, who was kidnapped by ISIS.

For many viewers, Notturno may not be a friendly documentary due to the absence of a central figure. Individuals come and go, with no one really knowing them, except for the forms of suffering they are experiencing. This choice is not without purpose. Rosi is not telling individual stories, but collective experiences. Tend to have difficulty creating attachment feelings? It is true, but at least Notturno provides innovation, especially for audiences who are getting tired of the talking head technique in conventional documentaries. Movie Review

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