Directors: Fabio Grassadonia, Antonio Piazza • Starring: Julia Jedlikowska, Gaetano Fernandez, Corinne Musallari.
A phenomenon at Cannes and in Italy – where it inspired many young people to return to the cinema – this supernatural drama with mythical elements re-imagines the tragic story of 12-year old Giuseppe Di Matteo, kidnapped by the Mafia in 1993 in a bid to silence his informant father. In settings where a forest, lake and animals evoke memories of dark fairy tales, the disappearance of Giuseppe (aged 13 in the film) causes classmate Luna to rebel against the silence and complicity that surround her, in a relentless quest to find him. Her love and devotion provide a healing sense that good need not be extinguished by man’s capacity for evil. It’s a fascinating and audacious premise, delivered through the bold vision of its two Sicilian directors.
‘Spoiler’ alert – the following text does not reveal the conclusion of the film, but indicates the outcome of the true story. Knowledge of this would have contributed to the impact the film made on Italian audiences. Giuseppe was held by the Sicilian Mafia for 779 days, due to his father Santino Di Matteo’s decision to become a government witness, disclosing details of the 1992 assasination of judge Giovanni Falcone. Although Santino made a desperate attempt to negotiate his son’s release, Giuseppe was killed in January 1996 on the orders of Mafia boss Giovanni Brusca. His body was dissolved in acid, to destroy evidence and to prevent a funeral.
The film’s directors also draw upon the Greek myth of Hades and Persephone. The latter was daughter of Demeter (the Goddess of Nature), who searched for her after she was abducted by Hades (God of the Underworld). He took her to the underworld via the waters of Lake Pergusa, which isn’t far from the ancient town of Troina; a key location in Sicilian Ghost Story.
With one showing at 7.30pm ONLY.