Sacro Gra

Not available for screening anymore

Sacro Gra

Directed by Gianfranco Rosi

  • Italy 2013; 93 min
  • Original version: Italian
  • Genre: Documentary
    • Golden Lion Award - Venice IFF
    • Silver Giraldillo - Seville IFF
    • Big Stamp Award - ZagrebDox IDFF

  • Nominated for European Documentary - European Film Academy


After the India of Varanasi’s boatmen, the American desert of the dropouts, and the Mexico of the killers of drugtrade, Gianfranco Rosi has decided to tell the tale of a part of his own country, roaming and filming for over two years in a minivan on Rome’s giant ring road—the Grande Raccordo Anulare, or GRA—to discover the invisible worlds and possible futures harbored in this area of constant turmoil. Elusive characters and fleeting apparitions emerge from the background of the winding zone: a nobleman from the Piemonte region and his college student daughter sharing a one-room efficiency in a modern apartment building along the GRA; a botanist making audio recordings of the interiors of palm trees to detect and then poison the insects that are devouring them like a plague; a modern day cigar-smoking prince doing gymnastics on the roof of his castle, surrounded by the sea of new apartment buildings proliferating around him; a paramedic in an ambulance eternally on duty treating car accident victims along the vast road; and an eel fisherman living on a houseboat beneath an overpass along the Tiber River. Far from the iconic sites of Rome, the GRA is a repository of stories of those at the edges of the everexpanding universe of the capital city.

Director's Statement

I carried Italo Calvino’s INVISIBLE CITIES with me as I was scouting locations for the film. It is a book about travel, which I see as a relationship between a place and its inhabitants in the desires and the confusion that are generated by city life, and that we ultimately draw into ourselves. The book advances along myriad paths and allows itself to be carried along by a series of mental states that overtake and overlap one another. It has a complex structure that the reader can navigate depending on his state of mind and life circumstances. The book led me forward during the many months working on the film when the real GRA seemed to elude me, more invisible than ever.




International Sales


    Daniela Elstner