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Italy, 2012, 96 Minute Running Time
Genre/Subjects: Colorado, Drama, Family Issues, Sports
Programs: Contemporary World Cinema, Spotlight on ColoradoLanguage: Arabic, Italian English Subtitles
DIRECTOR: Joel Stangle
Producer: Angelo Di Guardia, Sami IbrahimEditor: Joel StangleScreenwriter: Joel Stangle, Esther StangleCinematographer: Clint LittonPrincipal Cast: Enrico Toscano, Elisa Pennisi, Maria Benkhalouk, Ahmed Ahassan, Marco Pagliaro, Anwar Ong Bak, Giusy Abbate, Orazia Spampinato, Aroldo Donini, Franco Leonardi, Salvatore Pavone, Giuseppe Brischetto, Emanuele Rausi, Carmelo Di Guardia, Khalifa Assane
Shot and edited in an evocative vérité style that favors handheld camerawork, shallow compositions, and dark, naturally lit spaces, Joel Stangle’s second Sicilian-set feature follows two struggling boxers as they prepare for a make-or-break bout.
After being struck by a car, Sicilian-born boxer Toscano (Enrico Toscano) is forced to live with an unfeeling uncle and work a low-paying, dead-end job. In the meantime, his girlfriend, Delia (Elisa Pennisi), who dreams of going back to school and starting a better life, receives some unwelcome news. Toscano ultimately agrees to return to the ring, despite the nagging injury that should give him serious pause.
Pitted against Toscano is Barca (Ahmed Ahassan), a lower-class Tunisian immigrant whose hardworking wife, Sara (Maria Benkhalouk), initially withholds news of her pregnancy. After a chance meeting on the mean Catania streets, Barca brings home Tahir (Anwar Ong Bak), a 17-year-old Tunisian alone in the Italian city. Barca’s generosity provides added stress to the already economically imperiled household, especially after the boy sends the whole of his paycheck back to North Africa.
The moody Ring of Water offers its characters little respite from their mounting challenges. Stangle instead approaches his subject from a position of candor, with the acknowledgement that everything might not go as hoped for Europe’s new, multi-ethnic underclass—even if the film does end with a hard-won glimmer of hope.
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