CANNES 2017: SICILIAN GHOST STORY BY FABIO GRASSADONIA AND ANTONIO PIAZZA

This entry was posted on May 19th, 2017

By Mónica Delgado

If in Salvo, Grassadonia and Piazza’s previous film, the filmmakers returned to some motifs proper of “mafia films” to then place them in a dark setting, like in a sophisticated and austere film noir, in Sicilian Love Story they seem to be inspired by the same issues, but this time with a fantastic and coming-of-age kind of view. And there lies the originality of this film, which starts like Romeo and Juliet, in a town far away from this insular Italy, where two adolescents in school have a relationship which is not approved by a castrating ghostly mother.

The start of the film barely speaks of what the title announces, placing itself into the teenage love drama genre, something that reminds us of classic films like Melody (though maybe we’re exaggerating a little). However, it’s the music and the use of some resources of conventional horror (subjective cameras that emulates the view of a ghost, for example) that subtract some interest from the story and places it in a hybrid zone of genres, which feels somewhat oscillating. And it’s because of a twist that the film takes another route, centered in the cruel consequences of the mafia practices that affect Luna’s (the lead character) familiar life, a woman that reminds us of a young Linda Blair.

From this twist we’re able to see the whole mechanism that the filmmakers use to come close to a plot more akin to a thriller or a detective film with disappearances, thugs and crimes, where the clues and hints don’t come from a rational investigation but from dreams (a place where the phantasmagoric takes place), which is something that doesn’t entirely work.

Despite an original take on mafia films from an unusual point of view (that from time to time reminds us of Rohrwacher‘s Le Meraviglie), the new film of Grassadonia and Piazza is unable to surpass Salvo, their fantastic first film.

CRITIC’S WEEK
Directors: Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza
Script: Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza
Cinematography: Luca Bigazzi
Editing: Cristiano  Travaglioli
Sound: Guillaume Sciamà
Italy
2017