I am the captain (2023) Matteo Garrone

Matteo Garrone talks about the phenomenon of migration, refuting false rhetoric. The modern Odyssey, his I Captain, in competition in Venice 80, tells the story of the journey from Dakar to the Mediterranean of two young people who very simply pursue the hope of a better life, against all odds: the sea, torture, desert and indifference. From September 7, 2023 in cinemas with Seydou Sarr and Mustapha Fallem.


They call it a journey and that’s it. There are many of them, but only one is the journey, and Matteo Garrone he understood this well. I’m the captainperhaps the most prestigious among the Italian proposals in the competition Venice 80“No Others Needed” will be released in Italian cinemas on September 7, 2023 by 01 Distribution. Written by Garrone himself in collaboration with Massimo Gaudioso, Massimo Ceccherini AND Andrea Tagliaferri, a rereading of the migration experience from the outside and through the eyes of those who leave, leaving behind what they know and achieving what they hope for. The modern odyssey, the author’s word, the passage by land and sea are reimagined to highlight its dramatic potential, mythic tension, universal truths and social tensions. In search of a reasonable correspondence between poetic deformation and chronicle rigor. It’s all about the approach, the right approach. The matter requires seriousness and correctness.

Based on many true stories

Captain Seydoux Sarr in a still from the film
Captain Seydoux Sarr in a still from the film

He doesn’t do everything alone Matteo Garrone. Not only in the sense that he, as an expert author, decides to spoil his point of view with the interventions and contributions of others. The script is the brainchild of eight hands and four screenwriters. Moreover, he understands how risky the fantasy of complete freedom of action in such situations is. I’m the captain this is a journey through chapters, it would be better to say borders, born from the totality of many small or large – you decide – true stories witnessed by men and women who crossed Africa-Europe (one way?), in earnest. Then intervening here and there to systematize, reconsider, integrate these pieces of life lived, gathering them into a coherent and respectful narrative structure, very peculiar, harsh and painful on the road. Pure, full of hope, adventurous vitality and dignity. It all starts in Dakar, Senegal.

Two boys who want a better life

I am the captain, moment from the movie trailer
I am the captain, moment from the trailer of the film Matteo Garrone

Seydoux (Seydou Sarr) and Moussa (Mustafa Fall) live in Dakar and can continue to do so. Hunger bites, but not at an unacceptable level, they have a place to survive at home. But this is not enough for them, they dream of a better life and think that Europe is the right place to try. On the other hand, if European boys and girls are allowed to move freely from one country to another, why shouldn’t this also apply to them? Matteo Garrone stubbornly turns the perspective around, freeing the truth from useless sacrificial rhetoric and the cult of despair. Like many of those who made this journey, Seydoux and Moussa are not refugees; they are not in any objective danger to their lives. They lack something and they claim the right to get it. That’s why they leave, obviously not having an exact idea of ​​what awaits them.

I’m the captain According to the author, this is a reverse view of the migration phenomenon. The film’s intuition, a beautiful intuition, is to understand that no matter how you look at the matter, there is a flaw in the assessment. Young people are overestimating the European sense of solidarity and the opportunities available. Europeans underestimate the legitimacy of claims and the dangers of travel. The “fun” (because they really said it) ends very soon for Seydoux and Moussa. They will experience a lot during their journey. Money quickly runs out, you have to pay for fake documents, feed scammers, and get robbed by corrupt police officers. The little that fills your pockets is earned through hard work. And then the hateful death in the desert, prisons and monstrous Libyan camps. Torture, boats, inhumane overcrowding, the mirage of a safe haven.

Another migration of Matteo Garrone

Captain, Seydou Sarr and Hadi Sy in a scene from the film
Captain, Seydou Sarr and Hadi Sy in a scene from the film

Various migration Matteo Garrone rejects rhetorical tricks, clichés and fabricated truths. There is a person beyond the label (migrant), numbers that are randomly spun in the news, a residual load. He could do his thing I’m the captain a drier, more austere film, almost a documentary. Handheld camera, nervous vision, extreme severity. It would be more artificial, insincere. The film’s strength lies in its paradox: the combination of chronic inspiration and dramatic, almost poetic deformation – there is no shortage of fairytale-fantasy intrusions, and if there is a slight criticism of the film, it is that with this film it could have dared to do more. meaning – Matteo Garrone he recognizes, accepts and is not afraid of that natural detachment that separates his gaze from the sensitivity and experiences of those who have actually made the journey. By dramatizing migration, illuminating not just the randomness but also the universality of the problem, he gets to the heart of the problem with more radicalness than if he had followed a more sober and even much more pandering approach.

This is not surprising: there is a lot of talk about commercial and auteur cinema as if they were different worlds, but the pitfalls and shortcuts are the same. I’m the captain he avoids them because he knows when to drive against traffic and when to follow the rules. Seydoux and Moussa’s journey retains the horror of an experience teetering between abuse of power, corruption and indifference, but also the vitality of a great adventure (because this is it for two boys) and the contours of a colossal and very modern Bildungsroman. Seydou Sarr AND Mustafa Fall they embrace the odyssey of their characters, emphasizing their unwavering dignity without forgetting the impulses and small irresponsibility of childhood. They become men by bending but not breaking. This is a crucial task. How to overcome horror and fear, how to remain human, that is, not succumb to indifference and cynicism? A good movie always ends with a question mark.


I am the captain, movie poster



Original name: I’m the captain
Direction: Matteo Garrone
Country/year: Belgium, France, Italy / 2023
Duration: 121′
Type: Dramatic
Throw: Bamar Kane, Hichem Yacoubi, Adbella Elbkiri, Affif Ben Badra, Ali Niang, Babacar Diop, Beatrice Gnonko, Didier Njikam, Dudou Sagna, Emily Adams, Fleur B.B. Kabore, Joe Lassana, Joseph Beddelem, Mariam Kaba, Mustapha Fall, Oumar Diaw, Princess Erica, Taha Benaim, Venus Gueye
Film script: Andrea Tagliaferri, Nicola Di Robilant, Chiara Leonardi, Massimo Ceccherini, Massimo Gaudioso, Matteo Garrone
Photo: Paolo Carnera
Assembly: Marco Spoletini
Music: Andrea Farry
Director: Matteo Garrone, Paolo Del Brocco, Philippe Logie, Joseph Ruschop, Ardavan Safai
Production house: Voo & Be tv, Archimede, Radio Télévision Belge Francophone (RTBF), Tarantula, Canal+, Ciné+, Pathé, Rai Cinema, Proximus, Logical Content Ventures
Distribution: 01 Distribution

Release date: 07/09/2023


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Born in Rome sometime in the 80s of the last century. Degree in Political Science. I love cinema, music, literature. Beginner marathon runner.

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