A bandit plays bowls with the head of an old woman's husband, a peasant turns werewolf, a hunchback gets trapped in an outsized olive jar, a tyrant denies tenants the right to bury their dead, and Pirandello shares his sorrows with his mother's ghosts. The common link between the stories, adapted from Pirandello, is the vast, empty Sicilian landscape harbouring a richness of dramatic tales at once emotional and elemental. This is a film of fierce sunlight, bleached rocks, dark interiors, silent stares, and dialogue as rough and sparse as the land. In the years since the Tavianis' Padre Padrone, naturalism has given ground to a more grotesque vision of the past, allowing black comedy to creep into the always subtle socio-historical subject matter. Exhilarating.