Io Capitano Blu-ray Review


  • Director ‏ : ‎ Matteo Garrone
  • Actors ‏ : ‎ Seydou Sarr, Moustapha Fall
  • Subtitles: ‏ : ‎ English
  • Studio ‏ : ‎ Cohen Media Group
  • Aspect Ratio ‏ : ‎ 1.85:1
  • MPAA rating ‏ : ‎ NR (Not Rated)
  • Country of Origin ‏ : ‎ Italy
  • Number of discs ‏ : ‎ 1
  • Media Format ‏ : ‎ Blu-ray
  • Run time ‏ : ‎ 2 hours and 1 minute
  • Release date ‏ : ‎ May 28, 2024

        There’s no question that immigration has been a hot-button political topic worldwide in recent years, but director Matteo Garrone (Gomorrah) wisely takes a humanist approach to the topic with his latest film, Io Capitano. Nobody likes being preached to while watching movies, even those of us who appreciate more than the simple escapism of Hollywood genre films. Instead, we like to be told stories with characters we can connect with, and that is what Io Capitano excels at above all else. The fact that the story Garrone is telling happens to resemble the reality of many humans living on this planet today only adds to the power of the storytelling.


        The widespread relevance of the topic could be why the film was an international co-production between Italy, Belgium, and France. While the film needs a wide scope and filmed for thirteen weeks in three different countries, the focus is surprisingly intimate and tied to the experiences of a single character. Seydou (Seydou Sarr) is a Senegalese teenage living in Dakar with plans to make the journey to Europe with his cousin Moussa (Moustapha Fall). They depart in secret after lying to Seydou’s mother about the plans and are warned by many of the dangers they will face. Even the audience is unlikely to be prepared for the number of ways the immigrants are exploited and abused.


        Garrone has proved himself capable of tackling real world social issues without losing sight of the more formalistic capabilities of film, and he continues this signature approach with Io Capitano. Although many of the scenes and the whole of the narrative is grounded, inspired by the stories of actual immigrants who made the same journey from Africa to Europe, there are also sequences of fantasy utilized to depict the inner thoughts and visions of its protagonist.


Although I truly appreciated the commitment by the filmmakers to tell this story in a way it has rarely been approached in the past, I also could not help notice the similarities between Io Capitano and Mediterranea (2015). Both are international co-productions with protagonists who take the journey from Africa to Italy with lead actors praised for their performances. The biggest difference between the two is Io Capitano’s decision to focus entirely on the journey itself.


Io Capitano competed for the Golden Lion at the 80th Venice International Film Festival, where it won the Silver Lion for Matteo Garrone's direction and the Marcello Mastroianni Award for Seydou Sarr's performance. It also received Golden Globe nominations for Best Foreign Language Film and an Academy Award nomination for Best International Feature Film. Unfortunately, foreign films really must make an impact for audiences to take notice in America, so this Blu-ray release may be the first time some are able to watch Io Capitano.


The Blu-ray release comes with two Q&As given after screenings of the film in Los Angeles. Both screenings and the Q&A were attended by actors Seydou Sarr and Moustapha Fall, along with a man named Mamadou Kouassi, whose own journey served as partial inspiration for the narrative. Director Matteo Garrone is also at the second screening and Q&A. The extras also have a theatrical trailer.



Entertainment Value: 7/10

Quality of Filmmaking: 8.5/10

Historical Significance:  7/10

Special Features: /10

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