Sicilian Ghost Story

****

Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Sicilian Ghost Story
"It avoids every cliche laid down in the history of search-and-rescue movies"

No, it's not.

The title may mislead you. The ghost is in the mind of a 13-year-old girl who can't find her friend. It's not a horror movie. It's something far more original.

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Luna (Julia Jedlikowska) has a crush on Giuseppe (Gaetano Fernandez). She fantasises about him. He is the best looking boy in her class. He has an arrogance, a sophistication and a confidence that shines like the moon. She feels they have a connection. She may be shy but she is strong. He admires that in her. He is intrigued. She has integrity, although he doesn't use the word, not knowing what it means. She loves him, or the idea of him. He casts his angel smile across her path and lets her watch him ride.

This is Sicily, not the south of France. Having money implies Mafia. The class system is brutal. The poor serve the rich and the rich serve organised crime. Luna's parents tell her to make other friends. Giuseppe lives in a big house on the hill. He is not from their neighborhood. He is not their people.

One day Giuseppe doesn't turn up for school. He is sick, or so they suspect. Ten days later there is no sign of him. She knows, she fears, he has been taken. Killed for ransom? Sold into slavery? She sets out to find him.

The film has been written and directed by Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza in a unique style that is sympathetic and sensitive to Luna's emotional journey. It avoids every cliche laid down in the history of search-and-rescue movies. Her dreams are linked with the life she leads every ordinary day. The obsession with her task, the detection of clues, the knowledge of what might be, what might have been, overflows. Reality is in ruins because reality doesn't lie. Giuseppe is beside her. In the flesh.

No, no...

He is chained to a bed in the basement of a half made house in the forest. The torturers have no names.

Her heart stops. Her heart breaks. Her heart goes on beating. Luna never gives up. The film carries the fate of his world in her arms.

Speculation clouds resolution. Grassadonia and Piazza tell the story of an infamous crime that really happened through the prism of a young girl's imagination.

Light is starved. Hope is the ghost.

In the forest, Luna runs to him.

Reviewed on: 29 Jul 2018
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When a boy disappears, a young girl goes looking for him in the dark world that has swallowed him.

Director: Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza

Writer: Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza, based on a story from the book by Marco Mancassola

Starring: Julia Jedlikowska, Gaetano Fernandez, Corinne Musallari, Andrea Falzone, Frederico Finocchiaro, Lorenzo Amato, Filippo Luna

Year: 2017

Runtime: 122 minutes

Country: Italy, France, Switzerland


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