Michael MacGarry’s new short film re-imagines Thomas Mann’s novella Death in Venice as a fable that meditates on the contemporary issue of African refugees and immigrants in Italy. The film expands upon inherent themes in the book, with Mann’s character Tadzio cast as an immigrant to Italy from West Africa who has survived the treacherous and often fatal journey by sea. The lead character of the original, von Aschenbach, is embodied in the unseen filmmaker himself.
The film was shot on location in Italy with Pape Babacar Kebe from Senegal, resident in Italy for seven years, playing the part of Tadzio. The narrative of the film follows Tadzio on a short journey from the remarkable Brion Cemetery at San Vito in the mountains of Northern Italy to the coastal area of the Venetian lagoon on a doomed voyage home. On Lido Island the character visits the famous Hotel dés Bains, which featured in Luchino Visconti’s 1971 film version of Death in Venice.
Sea of Ash will premiere at the FNB Joburg Art Fair, 11 – 13 September 2015.
Written and directed – Michael MacGarry
Featuring – Pape Babacar Kebe
Cinematography – Robert Wilson, Michael MacGarry
Edited – Michael MacGarry
Post-Produciton FX – Mark Petje
Filmed on location in Bassano del Grappa, Milano and Venice
Produced in Association –