Lee Anderson, Duty Manager at Regal Picturehouse, Henley-on-Thames reviews this week’s Discover Tuesdays title, The Wonders.
Director: Alice Rohrwacher.
Starring: Maria Alexandra Lungu, Alba Rohrwacher, Monica Bellucci. Italy/Switzerland/Germany 2014. 111 mins. Italian with English subtitles.
Alice Rohrwacher (Corpo Celeste) uses all her talent as a director to create this little masterpiece. The captivating story keeps you engaged as you are brought into a strange and unusual family. The film originally screened at last year’s Cannes Film Festival and was awarded the Grand Prix, the festival’s most prestigious prize after the Palme d’Or.
Maria Alexandra Lungu does a wonderful job as Gelsomina, an emotionally charged 12-year-old girl finding that her world is turning on its head. She is struggling with her feelings as she enters her teenage years and discovers that farming is not everything in life.
In Italy’s idyllic Ligurian countryside, we find a family struggling to survive by working together keeping bees and growing vegetables on their farm. Their situation is made even more precarious by the fact that the local government is enforcing new regulations which mean that unless their farm is brought up to modern standards, they will have to stop selling their produce and will be forced to leave.
Whilst relaxing after a hard day’s work, the family stumble across a film crew making an advert for a television contest called Countryside Wonders. Gelsomina decides to sign the family up for this programme, as the prize is a financial reward that could help them renovate the farm. This does not go down very well with her father, Wolfgang (Sam Louwyck).
For Gelsomina, everything changes when the taciturn Martin (Luis Huilca Logrono) is taken on by her father to help with farm work.
For me this is a must-watch film. It gives a warm, charming insight into the lives of a quirky group who would normally keep themselves to themselves.
Keep an eye out for the camel!
Times+ members can discover stunning cinema by visiting www.ourscreen.com/discover
Every day MUBI’s in-house experts hand-pick a beautiful new film and you have 30 days to watch it. £4.99 a month with the first month free for Picturehouse customers. mubi.com/picturehouse