Rose Island

The new film never wavers in its appreciation for these seasteading heroes as they piss off all the right people in pursuit of their slice of utopia.


After his homemade car is impounded because it lacks license plates, the socially awkward but inventive Italian engineer Giorgio Rosa (Elio Germano) dreams up a way to escape the government's arbitrary intrusions: With help from some friends, he constructs a 400-square-meter steel platform in the international waters of the Adriatic Sea.

The seasteaders drill for fresh water, build a bar (naturally), and attract attention from mainlanders eager for something different from the dull and heavily regulated beach club scene in nearby Rimini. From there, it's just a small step to asking the United Nations to officially recognize the Respubliko de la Insulo de la Rozoj as a sovereign nation. (That, they hope, will fend off the Italian Navy.)

Rose Island, released on Netflix and based on real events from the tumultuous summer of 1968, portrays Rosa and his allies as romantic radicals. Sydney Sibilia's film struggles to maintain an even tone—some scenes veer into whimsical, Wes Anderson–esque territory, particularly a comic encounter with a patrol boat—but it never wavers in its appreciation for our heroes as they piss off all the right people in pursuit of their slice of utopia.

NEXT: Tacky's Revolt

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  1. Sounds like an Italian version of Pirate Radio.

    The Seasteading Movement is still alive and well. The problem is that any platform or anchored ship near enough to land gets claimed by the nearest nation, even if it’s clearly in international waters. That was the fate of the seasteading experient off the coast of Thailand. But too far off the coast and it’s much much harder to subsist.

    The way to go is to pick the right country then fly it’s flag. Otherwise to defend against pirates you need enough defense to be seen as a navy and that angers nations. So like it or not you still need the protection of a nation.

    p.s. Unless you want to start your anarchotopia on that side of Antarctica that’s not owned. But it has problems of its own.

  2. Fascinating story! I’ll have to watch i…But it’s really not complete if he doesn’t piss off the United Nations too. Just ask the U.S., Israel, Taiwan, Hong Kong, and Katanga.

  3. I watched it last night…Yeah, no. I sympathize with the man’s desire to fly and drive without saying: “Big Brother May I?” But building a seastead from materials stolen from one of the character’s father and with unpaid Calabrian labor is no basis for a libertarian utopia by the sea! This is just Manifest Destiny meets Club Med.

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