Directed by: #CalebBurdeau
Written by: #CalebBurdeau
Loneliness and isolation are universal experiences – no matter where you are in the world or what you have been through in life. You don’t need to be stranded in a foreign land with no-one at your side whilst your home is engulfed in a brutal war to feel them, but as Nasumice (Adrift) demonstrates – it certainly doesn’t help if you are.
Elvis (Moamer Kasumovic) is a refugee who has fled the Bosnian war to find safety in Italy. With only a camera to make a living, he spends his life working as a street photographer in Venice and Rome. A chance encounter brings him close to Rodolfo (Marcello Prayer), an Italian who feels the same sense of displacement despite being surrounded by the culture he grew up in. They embark on a shared journey to find their sense of purpose and place in the world.
Nasumice is a stunningly directed exploration of isolation and displacement which stands out due to a unique story and gorgeous cinematography. The cities, towns and hills of Southern Italy form a beautifully shot backdrop to Elvis and Rodolfo’s story, echoing the most memorable sets from Gomorrah. Director Caleb Burdeau combines long, sweeping shots of the countryside and fixed scenes with the protagonists to intertwine the isolation of the setting and the isolation each man feels in Italy. His cinematography is the film’s strongest and most memorable attribute and keeps the viewer fixated on the slow-burning plot.
Elvis and Rodolfo’s intertwining stories are told slowly, from their first, humorous meeting in Rome to their pained, understated parting. In each other, the two men find a kindred spirit struggling with the same difficulties despite their very different backgrounds. Elvis’ life as a refugee is given prominence without defining his character. Whilst Rodolfo’s veneer of confidence is meticulously picked apart by his family in awkward scenes that say much more in setting than in words. The dialogue between the two however is clunky and comes across as unnatural and unrefined – a fault which weakens an otherwise authentic feel.
The performances of Moamer Kasumovic and Marcello Prayer are convincing and effective – each quietly physical in their unstated awkwardness. The film is dialogue-light, and much of the characterisation of the two men comes from subtle clues from each of the actors. The script lets the performances down when it is called upon, with metaphors shunted into exchanges where they have no place. It doesn’t hinder the overall plot, but comes across as faux and exaggerated.
The style and artistic direction of Nasumice are truly memorable and will be the quality audiences take away from this film. It is not afraid to delve into unexplored territory and examine oft-ignored issues of male loneliness and desperation. But a clunky script, and occasional tendency to lapse into pretentious allegories hold it back from being special.