Tag Archive: Alba Rohrwacher

LE MERAVIGLIE (The Wonders) directed by Alice Rohrwacher (Italy, 2014)

Le Meraviglie is an unconventional drama set in a contemporary Tuscan landscape which is a far cry from the picturesque scenery you find in travel brochures.

It’s the kind of modest, low-budget independent movie that could easily disappear without trace yet should gain wider recognition after winning the Grand Jury prize at this year’s Cannes Film Festival.

The somewhat contrived, plot revolves around the working life of a bee farmer of German origin and his family. This man (Sam Louwyk) clings to the anachronistic and primitive lifestyle placing a high value in self-sufficiency. His bark is worse than his bite but he is still not a man to get on the wrong side of.

His paternal role is a fragile one and he cannot fail to be cognizant of the fact that the world around him is changing fast. The lack of separation between life and work in this female dominated household is a difficult discipline to maintain.

This harsh and humorless world is seen mainly through the eyes of a 12-year-old girl Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lungu), the eldest of his four daughters who help, and sometimes hinder, in producing honey.

The director’s older sister Alba plays the role of the mother who is increasingly frustrated by her dour and stubborn husband.

Modernity intrudes in the form of a TV reality show which, unbeknownst to the father, the young girls sign up to participate in. In a non too convincing cameo, Monica Bellucci plays a glamorous presenter of the show (Il Paese delle meraviglie – the land of wonders) which, in the name of light entertainment, turns real lives into a kitsch parody of tradition. Continue reading


Paolo Giordano’s debut novel – La Solitudine Dei Numeri Primi (The Solitude of Prime Numbers) has been a huge hit in Italy and its success will only spread through an English  translation and the movie version. I don’t read as much as I should in Italian, but this is one novel I persevered with and enjoyed . I can’t say the same about the movie which captures the look of the characters but sacrifices the originality and pathos of the novel for clichéd melodrama. Continue reading

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