HotDocs Review: Sacro GRA [Gianfranco Rosi, 2014]


Can you imagine a film about Rome without views of the Colosseum, St. Peter’s Square, The Trevi fountain, and all those other iconic splendors? Now you won’t have to imagine. Sacro GRA gives you a window into the abandoned and run-down outskirts of the Eternal City.

The Grande Raccordo Anulare, or GRA, is one of the most important transport arteries in Rome. But given its purpose, it is situated equidistant from everything, which simultaneously means that it is close to nothing. This is probably why neighborhoods near the GRA are filled with the marginalized, the downtrodden, and the esoteric. Normal people need not apply. Sacro GRA aerates the nuanced and interesting snapshots of GRA residents like Radiolab strings together stories around a central idea or word. There is something I’m wondering, though. I can make puns around circles and straight lines all day, but it wouldn’t help resolve why this film left a bigger resonance with me than Pipeline did. The setup is very similar. The lengths weren’t very different either. The one thing that does come to mind is… BECAUSE IT MAKES ME… HAPPY.
There is something about finding defining moments of beauty in all things presumed ugly, versus confirming ugliness. Maybe I’m just an optimist. No matter where you are on the happiness spectrum, find this and give it a try.
Posted on by Gary in Everything, Hot Docs, Reviews