The first documentary ever to be awarded the Golden Lion for Best Film at the Venice Film Festival, Sacro GRA wanders the Grande Raccordo Anulare, the gigantic ring road encircling Rome. We are shown into several lives unfolding in houses, apartments and public spaces that line it. Some, including a self-described prince in his amazing kitsch castle, are encountered directly. Others are viewed, though not pruriently, with Rear Window fascination.
“Italian-American director Gianfranco Rosi’s status as one of the most interesting documentary makers on the current scene can no longer be doubted... Sacro GRA’s charms have much to do with the director’s spot-on selection of a brace of engaging or kooky characters from what must have been dozens of potential candidates. But they also derive from the way he juxtaposes them in a work that has a persuasive emotional rhythm, alternating moments of pathos, drama and gloom with a vein of sometimes quirky, sometimes laugh-out-loud humour.” — Lee Marshall, Screendaily
“Rosi uncovers both the extraordinary to be found in the seemingly everyday and the absurd blandness hidden within outwardly glamorous lives. Sacro GRA is less a documentary than a piece of nonfiction prose whose protagonists play themselves in their natural habitats, some hamming it up and having fun reinventing their quotidian routines as seriocomic dramas. Propelled with casual ease by Rosi’s sense of wonder, Sacro GRA avoids indulging any mondo tendencies, instead presenting human existence as a treasure trove.” — Olaf Möller, Film Comment