KSL Movie Show review: ‘Io Capitano’ will put a lump in your throat

Mar 13, 2024, 6:00 AM | Updated: Mar 14, 2024, 6:46 pm

Io Capitano movie poster next to steve salles caricature...

In this KSL Movie Show review, host Steve Salles explains how "Io Capitano" became his favorite entry for the Academy Award for Best International Feature Film.

SALT LAKE CITY — Having previously reviewed the other 2024 Academy Award nominees for Best International Feature — a strong group — I was less than enthused about watching the remaining film, “Io Capitano,” mainly because I had heard so very little about it.

The European title confused me since the story features two young men from Senegal, Seydou and Moussa, and their attempt to make better lives by trying to migrate out of Africa.

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Little did I know, this would turn out to be my favorite international film entry, in an already amazing lineup of great movies.

Taking off

Seydou (Seydou Sarr) and Moussa (Moustapha Fall) have been secretly working for six months in Dakar to help finance their journey, unbeknownst to their close families and friends.

Seydou’s ambition is to become a songwriter, while Moussa wants to get out of his impoverished, hopeless surroundings. The two are very close and do everything together.

So, early one morning, they sneak off to catch the next bus heading northward to begin their new lives.

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But their innocence will betray them. At every turn along the way, thieves and thugs will coerce them into giving up their savings. And since the two are far away from home, they are helpless to resist.

The first of many trials in “Io Capitano”

Eventually, the Libyan Mafia nabs them. They demand the boys call home and ask for $800 dollars for their freedom. And if they don’t give up the phone number, they are savagely beaten and tossed into a massive holding cell.

At this point, the boys have been separated.

Moussa tries to conceal his money in a place he’s told the bandits would never look (they looked) and is whisked off to gangster jail while Seydou is left to his own devices.

Keep in mind, these boys are only 16 years old. They know nothing about the ways of the big, bad world.

This is just one of many trials these boys will face. But occasionally, a ray of hope or a kind gesture by a stranger will get them out of trouble, so they can continue on their arduous journey.

So where does the “Io Capitano” come in? Let’s say it’s a powerful, end-of-story declaration that describes the outcome perfectly.

It’ll bring a tear to the eye and a lump in the throat, as you struggle along with these characters, who are forced to grow up. These are not the same shy boys you met at the beginning of the movie.

They have been through the meat grinder and somehow made it — or have they? Great film. See it.

IO CAPITANO (A) Not rated, but likely PG-13 for violence. Starring Seydou Sarr, Moustapha Fall, Issaka Sawadogo, Hichem Yacoubi and Ndeye Khady Sy. Co-written and directed by Matteo Garrone (“Dogman” “Gomorrah”) – filmed in Senegal, Morocco and Italy. Running time: 121 minutes.

The KSL Movie Show with Andy Farnsworth and Steve Salles airs Fridays on KSL NewsRadio from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Follow the show on Facebook, and join The KSL Movie Show Club for exclusive perks by texting MOVIE to 57500.

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KSL Movie Show review: ‘Io Capitano’ will put a lump in your throat