Following the success of his short films, Excuse Me While I Disappear (which won the El Rey Award for Excellence in Narrative Short Filmmaking at the Barcelona Film Festival 2015) and Flies, Michael MacGarry has completed his most recent piece of work: Sea of Ash. It was shot in Venice, Bassano del Grappa and Milan following his attendance at the 24th African, Asian and Latin America Film Festival (FCAAAL) and the 56TH Venice Biennale. The film is a poetic re-imaging of Thomas Mann’s 1925 novella, Death in Venice, featuring a West African immigrant as the character Tadzio; who embarks on a journey from the Alpine mountains to the seaside and, ultimately, on a doomed voyage home.
The contemporary issue of African refugees and immigrants in Italy is illustrated in the film; the travel narrative follows Tadzio from the remarkable Brion Cemetery at San Vito in the mountains of Northern Italy, to the coastal area of the Venetian lagoon. On Lido Island he visits the famous Hotel dés Bains, as featured in Luchino Visconti’s 1971 film version of Death in Venice.