Rose Island

In 1968, there were dreamers, and Giorgio Rosa wasn’t the only one, but he’s the man we’re going follow today, all the way to Rose Island.

Actually, in 1968 there was no Rose Island as Giorgio (Elio Germano) hadn’t built it yet. But he’s about to. He’s an engineer, a creator, and a thinker. And one day he gets to thinking: wouldn’t it be nice to build an island out in international waters? All to his own?

Rose Island tells the “incredible true story!” of how Rosa solved the problem of how to build an island, but more importantly, how it captured people’s imaginations, drew crowds, and was eventually declared its own nation. Built off Italy’s Rimini coast, it looked a lot like a party barge but also embodied ideals of independence, anarchy, challenging the status quo, and living life off grid, and without rules. Rosa and his acolytes believed their island could change the world, and the first step was establishing it as its own sovereign nation. Of course, that’s also what attracts the attention of the Italian government, who declares Rosa and his island an enemy. Founding your own island nation is fun and games until someone aims their cannons at you.

Rose Island is a fun movie for dreamers and disruptors but the truth is, not a lot actually happens. Between construction and war, there’s just a lot of sitting around and drinking sangria, with the occasional cut to Italian government officials wondering what they should do, who they should tell, pushing around bits of paper, and probably wishing they could jet out to the island themselves for some anonymous debauchery.

I admit that the story definitely deserves to be told and there’s definitely a vitality to rebellion and revolution. I didn’t love the movie, its on-again, off-again momentum was a bit frustrating, but I was glad to hear this little bit of history that I’d never known before.

2 thoughts on “Rose Island

  1. Robert Jantzen

    Okay, not a lot of action. Fair enough. But as you noted it was a story that needed to be told. Fabrizio Bentivoglio (the old politician) was just in a summer beach dramedy with Alessandro Gassmann, son of the iconic Italian actor Vittorio, himself one of Italy’s best now, although no one over here knows anything about Italian cinema (I have been a part time ex-pat in Rome for 40 years, lucky me). A lot more action and fun as an upbeat crazy family movie: Croce e Delizia (An Almost Ordinary Summer) (2019) on Netflix. Give it a look. The title is not a translation but the original Italian is hard to translate. [Google translate: the expression (if any) used to say that something is at the same time cross (nightmare, obsession, something that one would not want to exist) and delight (pleasure, enjoyment, exaltation …)]

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