There are many things The Wonders’ film title might refer to: it could be the four daughters growing up in the northern Italian countryside that the action centres on; it could be the bees they keep, the family funded by the production of their honey; or, it could be a self-referential nod to the perfect frames and shots that make up this startling piece, Alice Rohrwacher’s second directorial outing after her much admired first feature Corpo Celeste.
This charming Italian film The Wonders premiered in Cannes last year.
The Wonders movie review
This is a gentle, slow-paced coming-of-age tale; sweet and life affirming, it centres on Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lungu), a girl in her early teens and the eldest of the four daughters, and her development of independence and responsibility. She lives with her family on a charmingly chaotic smallholding in remote Northern Italy, the main business the production of honey.
The girls help their mardy father (Sam Louwyk) with the production of the honey, which is a beautifully rendered process of intricacies and technique that the girls must learn.
But Gelsomina is growing up. And in her strikingly well performed progression into puberty, she is in part concerned by the worldwide plight of bees and the effects it might have on her family’s livelihood, and in part concerned by her appearance after a bee sting on her eye lid, or after a 14-year old male offender is introduced into the family as part of a rehabilitation program.
The Wonders film, 2014
As the film wanders smilingly and softly through rural Italian life, a bizarre event changes the films pace and direction: the family are offered the chance to compete in a surreal competition for farmers to win prizes for the best produce. Monica Belluci (as it happens the next bond girl) lends some of her stately prowess to the role of the presenter of the show, and Gelsomina is beguiled by her beauty. She is offered an insight into life outside of beekeeping and the everyday struggles of small town life, and in her confused adolescence the tension of the film rests.
The Wonders is a charmingly sentimental exploration of growing up, and how isolation is increasingly impossible with all-consuming globalisation.
|What||Cannes Film Winner 2014: The Wonders film|
Electric Cinema, Shoreditch
Aubin & Wills Store, 64-66 Redchurch St, , London, E2 7DP | MAP
|Nearest tube||Acton Town (underground)|
17 Jul 15 – 31 Aug 15, 12:00 PM – 12:00 AM
|Price||£ determined by cinema|
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