Notturno was shot over the past three years along the borders of Iraq, Kurdistan, Syria, and Lebanon. A region where tyranny, invasions and terrorism have fed off each other in a vicious circle, to the detriment of the civilian populations. All around signs of violence and destruction: but in the foreground is the humanity that reawakens every day from a nocturne that seems infinite.
Despite the sound of gunfire off in the distance, Notturno is less a film about life during wartime than the life that subsequently follows it, as those damaged by the violence try to move forward.
As he did with his previous prizewinners Sacro GRA and Fire at Sea, Rosi constructs this film as a series of handsomely shot vignettes that forgo interviews, voiceover, or context cues in order to let the striking, fixed-camera compositions do much of the talking. Here, he pushes that aesthetic even further than before, creating an impressionistic tableau-film that feels in places like a photojournalistic inquiry breathed to somber life.
Ben Croll, IndieWire