In this documentary, filmmaker Gianfranco Rosi seeks out the hidden stories buried beside the Roman ring road and finds a way to turn the ignored and bypassed into delicate and fascinating episodes.
In 1948, the newly created Republic of Italy established one of its earliest and most enduring public works, the 42 mile ring road around Rome, known there as GRA, Grande Raccordo Anulare, changing forever direct access to Rome, and encircling in a strange embrace an even stranger and more mysterious collection of neighborhoods. It is an "autostrada" that goes nowhere, that bypasses not only the byways of those neighborhoods but the very people themselves.
This film brings us into the beating heart of stories that flit almost invisibly and unheard just outside the cacophony of the ring road. As Rosi's punning and sardonic title suggests, this road has a holy mission to nurture life within the lips of this cup, although it may not be a life we want to recognise as part of the 21st century.
Gianfranco has altered forever our perceptions of these neighborhoods and even the very significance of the lives in Sacro GRA's precincts.