A vivid, wispy missive from a strange land that turns out to be the small fishing island of Lampedusa, south of Sicily, writer/director Crialese's eerie film depicts with languorous intimacy the textures of life among the local community: its rustic simplicity and brusque cruelty, its hard-worn beauty and unyielding traditions. One particular family is at its focus, and eventually, almost reluctantly, something of a story unfolds. A local myth about a persecuted woman who drowned herself, only to be brought brought back to life by the islanders' prayers, sets off convulsively free-spirited mother Grazia (Golino) and her eldest son in silent revolt against a plan to consign her to psychiatric treatment. Emotionally elliptical, the film finds its eloquence in the near-tactile clarity of its images. Accompanied John Surman's sonorous baritone saxophone offertory, the impressions of sun, sea and dust remain inscribed in the mind.
Cast and crew