Said Mahran (Lorenzo Baglioni) is a man of Algerian heritage. His father, Hamid (Mohammed Hanifi) is Algerian, but having emigrated to Italy thirty years prior, Said and his brother, Amir (Amir Ati), were born in Florence and have been living in Italy their entire life. Said has never once visited Algeria and considers Italy his home, but having never been granted certified citizenship his family continually has to apply for working visas. Their legal ‘acceptance’ is temporary.
When industrial businesses begin to go under, layoffs and closures ensue. Hamid’s boss commits suicide and Hamid loses his job, which in-turn results in the entire family faced with expulsion from Italy within fifteen days. Angered by this injustice Said relentlessly fights their case, hiring lawyers and bringing this widespread issue of dislocation to the attention of the media.
It’s About To Rain is a potent cultural study, covering the internal drama of a family who have been forced to let go of any future ambitions and completely change the course of their life, and the bureaucratic mess that not only affects the second-grade Italian citizens who are denied connection with the culture, but ALL Italians.
Said’s determination and decision-making is inspiring, and writer/director Haider Rashim, a worldly man with an Iraqi father who was born in Florence, understands the impact of these laws and directs with thought and composure.
Said’s loyalty is admirable and he remains dignified, despite the chance of success very low. He has the opportunity to marry his girlfriend Giulia, gain citizenship and remain in Italy, but he believes that he shouldn’t have to change his life to prove he is Italian. He is unwilling to give up the fight for his brother and father. Hamid has been a model citizen and has worked hard all of his life. Likely unable to find another job at his age, he has no other options. Said believes that if he cannot ensure that his father stays in Italy, he and his brother – having been born there – have a case worth fighting for.
Rashid makes it an intimate personal story, never shy to utilise close-ups of his characters. Baglioni gives a fine performance and a rousing speech made in front of his family, friends and supporters is one of the film’s strongest moments. Another memorable sequence is an energetically edited, harshly scored montage of Said, with his face painted the colour of the Italian flag, cheering on the national team, as another individual surrenders to his loss of hope. Baglioni has charismatic presence, and with his striking lensing Rashid takes full advantage of his emotive features.
It’s About To Rain is an important film for international audiences, covering prescient issues and weaving a powerful story of loyal citizens fighting against bureaucratic oppression and forced expulsion from a country unwilling to accept that they belong. It exposes an unfortunate flaw in Italian politics and social structures.
[rating=3] and a half
Andrew Buckle – follow Andy on Twitter here: @buckle22