by Antonio Cabello
Review of The Last Resort (L’ultima spiaggia), directed by Thanos Anastopoulos and Davide Del Degan. Italy.
Suddenly, after looking around in search for an exit, our eyes shine bright when they decide to take us up high: “Nelbludipinto di blu” (“in the blue painted blue”). Can you imagine? To let, for an instant, the mind wander and guide us without any limits, constructions or distinctions, and then fall into the verses of Volare by Domenico Modugno: “Mentreil mondo pian piano scomparenegliocchituoiblu” (“while the world disappears little by little into you blue eyes”).
While the atmosphere is enlivened by the joie de vivre that emanates from that popular Italian song, the documentary film The Last Resort narrates how the golden sand welcomes the destiny of an immigrant community that finds in the beaches of Trieste its own “Hall of Lost Steps”; a place where the choreography of daily life reveals the contradictions and tensions that remain present in the bosom of a Europe that we must interpret through the awkwardness of exercizes such as Im Keller (Ulrich Seidl, 2014).
In the end, the point is to open our eyes wide, whether it is to spy on what lies beyond the walls of our coddling metropolis or to behold what divides a wall erected to divide a beach between men and women. Deep down, everything is reduced to reflecting on our own construction, in terms of identity.
In order to approach this beach front existence directors Davide del Degan and Thanos Anastopoulos don’t renounce themselves to a fiction in order to parade their roster of characters that owes so much to that of Amarcord (1973) by Federico Fellini. These cultural echoes are reminiscent of a work-in-progress Europe that starts making even more sense when we become aware that only a few kilometers from the coast waves and waves of immigrants are dying while trying to reach the shores of the old continent. Back and forth, life and death, we’re on this beach that breathes the festivity of Fellini and the nostalgia – if not elegy – from the final verses of Antonio Machado‘s Portrait (1907): “And when the day of the last journey comes and the ship I will never board is about the set sail, you will find me on board with little luggage, nearly naked, like the children of the sea“.
Riveted with shots of formal and narrative beauty that overflows at times, the anecdotes, points of view and conversations are relayed until they allow us to summon a vivid portrait of the fragility of a European project that doesn’t lie in the European Central Bank but rather in the hearts of citizens that no longer believe in frontiers. In the final moments resonate some choice words from a Yugoslavian who holds Italy as his country: “Nationalisms are the ruin of the people“. Where the foam of the waves of the sea cradle in sync with dreams, The Last Resort finds independence and, above all, dignitiy. Maybe it will only last one Summer, a handful of months that allow us to gaze into the blue yonder, but it allows us to find that place where we can check for the pulse of our present.
Antonio Cabello / Writer (Jaén, Spain – 1993) Producer and editor for Fremantlemedia Spain on TV shows, he studied journalism and audiovisual communication at Universidad Carlos III de Madrid. He also studied poetry, humanism and film criticism. Five years ago he founded Esencia Cine, for which he has covered the Cannes and San Sebastián film festivals. Life is time.