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Bishops Castle Film Society

The Wonders - 11th Oct 2017

Alice Rohrwacher, Italy, 2014, 110 m

Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lungu) is the eldest of four daughters of a family in rural Italy who make a meagre living from honey production.    In order to increase their income, the parents take in a silent young boy who is on a social services rehabilitation programme.  Meanwhile Gelsomina becomes entranced by the shallow glamour of a bizarre  TV series which is offering a cash prize in a competition for the best locally produced food, and  she enters the competition against her stubborn father’s wishes. This is primarily a coming-of-age film but it also gives us a window into the family’s daily life,  and the scenes of Gelsomina and her father working together provide insights into the skills of beekeeping and honey production. The film documents not just Gelsomina’s changing relationship with the boy and her father as events unfold, but also the ending of a hard but simple way of life as the modern world  encroaches on tradition.  The film won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival in 2014.

“Rohrwacher’s style lays more emphasis on mood than plot (though the storyline is clear), conjuring a conflicted world of regulation and freedom in all aspects of the characters’ lives.”  [Jay Weissberg, Variety, May 2014]

“So much is encompassed by [the film’s] seemingly modest reach: the slow onset of adulthood, but also the fading of the old ways…. [It] stays with you like a stowaway, hunkering down in the hold of your mind.” [Robbie Collin, The Telegraph, July 2015]



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