Saturday, March 16, 2019

The Wonders

2014, Italy, directed by Alice Rohrwacher (aka Le meraviglie)

On the surface level a coming-of-age tale, and often a very affecting and unusual one, but deeper down a dissection of family -- both the ones allocated and chosen -- and, in the particular rural context, of the role of uncompensated labour within the family structure. The routines, often back-breaking, of children's work are depicted with great care, perhaps drawn from Rohrwacher'w own background, with the dividing line between domestic chores and work toward supporting the family income at best tenuous, particularly under the domination of a forbidding patriarch. The young actors, particularly Maria Alexandra Lungu as the oldest of the children, are excellent, while the particular non-touristy settings (in Tuscany and Lazio) peel back another layer of Italian life.

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