Friday, September 4, 2015

Le meraviglie (The Wonders) (2014)

Director: Alice Rohrwacher
Writer:    Alice Rohrwacher
Cast:       Alba Rohrwacher, Maria Alexandra Lungu, Sam Louwyck, Monica Bellucci
Language: Italian

Nothing will be the same at the end of this summer for Gelsomina and her three younger sisters. It is an unusual family which includes their father and mother along with another woman helper and they are a farming family with Honey being their main source of income. To this struggling group, a 14 year old juvenile boy is added and then there is this banal reality show, hosted by Monica Bellucci, in which they can participate with some attractive money on offer for the winners. 

It is really an unusual film which depicts the family in a very non-glamorous and realistic manner. It is quite common to make films in such settings with a very romanticized depiction and our Malayalam industry is replete with such (Ivide Swargamanu). Despite its grittiness, it turns out to be such a sweet film with nuanced performances. Toward the end, it does get a bit more serious in a very non-hammy way and even goes into the surreal territory. It works as a coming of age story of its protagonist teenager, Gelsomina. The basic story of struggling farming family is quite universal these days but participation from even the little kids in the activities is quite rare to see. This must be a really alien concept in Europe and that in itself might be its primary attraction.

It is a great and unique watch. It won the 'Grand Prix' award at Cannes. I would assume it to be semi-autobiographical for the director, going by her bio on wiki. I guess that authenticity is reflected in the film. It kind of reminded me of 'The Broken Circle Breakdown' in terms of its farming settings.

Rating: 4/5