09 20 Oct '24
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Matteo Garrone

Io capitano

121' - 2023 - Drama - Dialogue: French, Wolof
Director: Matteo Garrone Composer: Andrea Farri With: Bamar Kane, Seydou Sarr, Moustapha Fall
In Silver Lion winner Io capitano, Gomorrah director Matteo Garrone follows two Senegalese teenagers as they transit from Dakar to Sicily. A hallucinatory odyssey through the hopeful eyes of the young migrants. Garrone and debuting actor Seydou Sarr both won awards at the Venice Film Festival.
A modern odyssey, grand in scope and human at its core.

"It's a reverse shot of what we are used to seeing." Speaking to The Guardian, Italian director Matteo Garrone claims he wants to turn the European point of view around in the urgent migrant drama Io capitano. Teenagers Seydou and Moussa, two Senegalese cousins, risk their lives and tried to make it to Europe in the hope of achieving their dreams. But hopes and dreams usually stand little chance in the films of Matteo Garrone, known for his naturalistic crime movies (Gomorrah, Dogman) and dark fairy tales (Tale of Tales, Pinocchio). Marked by violent conflicts and growing pains, the younger characters in these films challenge both their fates and the older generations. Just like Seydou and Moussa. With many of his regular crew, Garrone returns to the themes of his debut Terra di mezzo and successor Ospiti. Both films gave migrants a voice and showed their uncertain lives in Italy.

At the same time, Garrone's 11th feature is one of remarkable firsts. It's the first that Garrone shot mainly outside his home country - he filmed in Senegal and Morocco - and the first with which he made it to the official competition at the Venice Film Festival. He immediately won the Silver Lion for best director. And there is the cast of mostly non-professional actors, including 17-year-old Seydou Sarr who manages to deliver a shattering performance and was rightly awarded the award for Best Young Actor. Although Garrone himself came up with the idea for the film - inspired by the true story of the captain from the title - he and his co-screenwriters worked closely with several migrants. Even on set, their own real-life experiences helped steer the director wisely away from clichés. Ditto for composer Andrea Farri, who integrates African sounds into the soundtrack. With Io capitano, a co-production between Italy, France and Belgium, Garrone's drama leads to a modern odyssey grand in scope and human at its core. In an interview with The Guardian he stressed: "I wanted to show the part we should know about but don't."

“Buoyed by a tremendous performance from newcomer Seydou Sarr, (...) Matteo Garrone’s stirring Me Captain takes Europe not as its setting but as a near-mythic objective, tracing one Senegalese teen’s vast journey from Dakar to Tripoli to overloaded migrant boat in gripping, sometimes agonizing detail. For Garrone, this proves an energizing shift in focus, yielding his most robust, purely satisfying filmmaking since his international breakthrough Gomorrah 15 years ago. (...) Wisely guiding our attention away from its sure directorial touch and toward the story at hand - pieced together by a small army of screenwriters and collaborating contributors from first-hand migrant accounts.” - Variety

FFG On Tour: Io capitano (17.10)

Visitors outside Ghent can also experience a tiny bit of FFG2023 thanks to FFG On Tour. In several cinemas in Flanders and Brussels, Matteo Garrone's festival film Io capitano will be screened on Tuesday 17 October. The screening will also be followed by a live streamed Q&A with the director from the festival.

Participating cinemas

  • CC Ter Dilft
  • CC Evergem
  • Cinema ZED
  • Netwerk Aalst
  • Lumière Antwerpen
  • Lumière Brugge
  • Lumière Mechelen
  • CC Jan Tervaert Hamme

Image gallery

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Matteo Garrone


Andrea Farri


Bamar Kane, Seydou Sarr, Moustapha Fall


Matteo Garrone, Massimo Ceccherini, Nicola Di Robilant, Andrea Tagliaferri, Chiara Leonardi, Massimo Gaudioso

Director of Photography

Paolo Carnera


Marco Spoletini


Paolo Del Brocco, Matteo Garrone

Production studios



Paradiso Filmed Entertainment NV

More information


French, Wolof

Countries of production

Italy, Belgium, France




Matteo Garrone
Silhouette (short, 1996), Land in Between (1996), Welcome Holy Spirit (1997), Guests (1998), Oreste Pipolo, fotografo di matrimoni (short, 1998), Il caso di forza maggiore (short, 1998), Roman Summer (2000), The Embalmer (2002), First Love (2004), Gomorrah (2008), Reality (2012), Tale of Tales (2015), Before Design: Classic (short, 2016), Delightful (short, 2017), The One (short, 2017), Dogman (2018), Entering Red (short, 2019), Pinocchio (2019), Le mythe Dior (short, 2020), Le château du tarot (short, 2021), Io capitano (2023)

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