© Below Sea Level — Gianfranco Rosi / 21 One Productions
2008, 110 minutes
On the remains of an old military base, 200 miles south of Los Angeles, a small community of marginals has settled, away from the harsh reality of our world. Broken by the vagaries of life and despite the difficulty of their past and current situations, they were able to organize themselves, creating a remote enclave where they can re-learn to live in spite of everything.
Shot over five years by director Gianfranco Rosi, Below Sea Level is a poignant portrait of survival in the wake of personal disasters. In a political and observational gesture, Rosi points out the contradictions of our Western societies, in which the vanity of excessive wealth can give place a few miles away to complete desolation and wretchedness.
Rosi is the spokesperson of the vanquished and the ‘losers’, giving his subjects a space in which they can express themselves freely, showcasing with grace and humility the harshness of their lives, but also their resilience and courage facing a repressive and controlling state apparatus that often forces you to follow up or die. Entering the intimacy of these men and women, we quickly realize that they are just like us, or rather that we are just like them…a coin flip away at times from losing everything we hold dear and becoming an outcast whether we intended it to happen or not.