Posted Aug 01 2018

Sicilian Ghost Story - This Movie Doesn't Quite Rock

Dir: Fabio Grassandonio, Antonio Piazza

Satrring Julia Jedikowska, Gaetano Fernandez, Corrine Mussalari

This is a curious coming of age movie more than anything else, one that goes quasi fairy tale and mixes it all together with tragic Mafiosi realism. Which, you’ll agree, is an unusual mix. And one that doesn’t always sit that well when presented side by side.

Grassandonio and Piazza’s at-times dream-like movie starts with the sound of dripping water – and doesn’t really move things on too swiftly from there. When 13 year old Giuseppe (Fernandez) appears to disappear from a small Sicilian town, no one really wants to talk about it. Is he ill? Has he died even? Or is it something to do with his absent father’s previous relationship with the Mafia?

The only one who is interested is his almost-girlfriend Luna (Julia Jedikowska) who is determined to discover what has happened to the love of her young life. What follows is her desperate attempts to learn more, which, the longer they are away from each other, begins to take on both metaphysical and metaphorical – even potentially suicidal - elements, all linked to her burgeoning experiences as a girl growing into a woman.

It’s a curious mix that blends fairy tale tropes – a potentially enchanted forest, a mysterious house somewhere deep within same (not quite a cabin in the woods, but…) and semi-mystical animals – with a story of the reality of both Mob-ruled Sicily, and the difficulties of growing up in general. Moments work well, but the majority has trouble finding a centre that works in either a fully challenging or a satisfying manner.

Jedikowska is terrific however, and does everything she can to hold it together. But – taking that dripping water as its lead – the film meanders towards a climax that is somewhat jumbled, distinctly drawn out and ultimately inconsequential.


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