The Island of Roses, tragedy in paradise

The Island of Roses, tragedy in paradise (L'Isola delle Rose - La tragedia di un paradiso)

original title:

L'Isola delle Rose - La tragedia di un paradiso

directed by:


Sara Pozzoli, Barbara Fantini


Claudia Pampinella







film run:





Ready (06/01/2007)

festivals & awards:

Pregnant with her second child, director Rebecca Samonà decides to travel with her mother to Rhodes, where their family lived for many generations. With her, we discover the story of the island’s Jewish community, going back to the golden age of Italian rule when pictures of King Victor Emmanuel, Queen Elena, and Benito Mussolini decorated the walls of the rabbinical seminary, and when the director’s grandmother could marry an Italian Catholic soldier without being rejected by her family. Only following the enactment of racist legislation, did the Jews begin to feel threatened. At the height of WWII, when Nazi Germany took control of the island, the Jewish community was deported and sent to concentration camps. Rebecca Samonà tells a rather simple story, a story of family survival similar to many others. She relies upon extensive archival footage: Italian and Nazi newsreels, as well as the family archives, which include numerous photo albums from pre-War times. Along with the visuals, she provides us with segments of her grandfather’s diary, from which we learn about the events and their emotional impact. The story provokes many questions concerning Jewish fate and sheds light on the hidden story connecting Jews living in Israel with the wise and wrinkled heroes presented here.