Newspaper headlines cry, “Immigrants Flood the Shores of Italy,” “Crime Wave Sweeps the Streets of Catania.” History repeats itself in an intertwined story of two boxers struggling to survive inside and outside of the ring. Toscano, a young Sicilian, is fighting against his past. Barca, an African immigrant, is fighting for his future. When the tide changes, they have to fight for the present.
A car accident sends Toscano back to living with an unforgiving uncle in Catania’s roughest neighborhood. There, he tries to keep his younger cousin from getting seduced by mafia street life and to keep himself above water the only way he knows how, with his fists. A shipwreck forces Barca to confront reality. In helping a young, fresh-off-the boat immigrant, his personal dream of a better future is jeopardized by the strong currents of exploitation and the limitations of being “illegal.”
Behind the hard shell of these men, living in the shadows of masculine determination, are the women they love, Delia and Sara. While the men dream, the women discover their pending motherhood and are faced with the realization that they are bringing children into an uncertain world full of rising tides.
As the two boxers prepare to meet in the ring, their lives outside of the ring crisscross in the winding backstreets of Catania, where everything connects in more ways than one. They are part of something, something bigger, their lives are a cycle, a cycle that they are determined to break at all costs.