Magazine article Variety

SEA Sorrow

Magazine article Variety

SEA Sorrow

Article excerpt

SEA Sorrow

Director: Vanessa Rodgrav-e

Cast: Vanessa Redgrave. Alfred Dubs. Ralph Fiennes, Emma Thompson, Daisy Bçvan, Jemma Redgrave, Clare Burnett. Peter Sutherland, Liz Clegg

*I fell like I'm back in Vanessa RedI I notes solemnly at I one point in hcr impassioned refugee-crisis documentary "Sea Sorrow." Diagnosing Shakespearean levels of villainy and hubris in many of today's political leaders -with a particular swipe at Britain's Conservative government - she continues: "Those appalling historical figures are re-emerging today" It's a dramatic analogy in all senses, though that is to be expected from a great classical actress making her debut as a documentarían. Sincere, sometimes impressionistic and formally naive, Redgrave's 72-minute cri de coeur feigns neither tough investigative rums nor lofty aesthetic artistry as it commendably implores politicians and citizens to open their hearts, minds and borders to those affected by war in Syria, Afghanistan and elsewhere. Shot 011 rudimentary digital, it's more extended PSA than cinema, but one senses the filmmaker herself knows her message outranks her method. As such, "Sea Sorrow" should ride ancillary waves to reach its audience after its Cannes premiere.

Those expecting the 80-year-old Redgrave's late foray into filmmaking to reactive the firebrand activist sensibility she cultivated in the 1970s may come away disappointed: "Sea Sorrow' is a work of gentle persuasion, stating even its political anger in calm, civil terms and hoping to arouse more united compassion than contentious debate. Its position is not a complicated one - scores of people from developing nations are displaced and dying, while privileged countries aren't doing enough to help - and one would like to think it's So irreproachable that it barely needs a feature-length broadcast, Yet at a time when Brexit-era Britain, among other right-wing, immigration-hostile administrations, is explicitly closing ranks on outsiders in need, Redgrave's thinking isn't intuitive to all,

"Sea Soirow'thus feels like a work born less of artistic curiosity than a fundamental need to be heard. It's perhaps most effective when it's most prosaic, interviewing victims, campaigners and aid workers alike lo foreground the human immediacy of a global crisis that less engaged viewers might think of chiefly as headline fodder. …

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