Seydou Sarr picked up the coveted Marcello Mastroianni award for best young actor at the 80th Venice Film Festival on Saturday. He earned this accolade for his role in the film “Io capitano,” where he played the role of a Senegalese teenager embarking on a dangerous journey to Europe.
Their modern-day odyssey exposed them to the harrowing experiences of detention centers in Libya and the dangers of the sea. The film tackled a teething subject that’s become an albatross for many African governments — African immigration to Europe.
Sarr was a non-professional actor picked from Senegal by Director Matteo Garrone. He virtually transformed the boy into a man. Sarr and Moustapha Fall, also a Senegalese, became the lead actors in the film.
The film was shot sequentially in Senegal and Morocco, and the actors were given scripts only at the beginning of each day’s filming. This approach allowed the actors to experience the journey of their characters in real-time, with uncertainty about what would happen next. Director Garrone was of the view that this method added authenticity to the performances of the actors.
There were obvious dangers the young actors came into contact with, but, they admitted that, for one to have a better life, what they faced was unavoidable, as reported by dev discourse.