Alice Rohrwacher presented her first movie, Corpo Celeste, at the Director’s Fortnight in 2011; she is now back in the official competition with her second feature, The Wonders (original title, Le Meraviglie).
Rohrwacher chose to focus her young gaze on a family living in the Italian countryside and struggling with everyday life. There are seven of them: the parents, their four daughters and a family friend. They earn money thanks to their bees and the honey they produce. Gelsomina (interpreted by the wonderful and powerful Maria Alexandra Lungu) is the eldest of the sisterhood, and at 13, she has already a lot of responsibility. Struggling with love for her parents at odds with envy of her friends’ freedom, she discovers one day that a reality TV show about farmers will earn them the money to change their lives.
The subject is personal for Rohrwacher, who comes from the same place as this family, and thanks to that, The Wonders is a wonderful moment, full of hopes, magic, humour and love. Seeing people struggling to understand each other forces the viewer to step back and revaluate their own conception of Italy, family and childhood.
The cast is amazing and the choice of actors and actresses (some of them very young and remarkably talented) shows just how the great Alice Rohrwacher captures the essential in cinema. Her topic is simple but powerful: life – how people make their own rules but still try to adapt to the world, how the possibility of change lies in their vulnerability, how tremendous moments of joy can be found in little everyday details.
The Wonders translates from the original Italian, Le Meraviglie, and one thing is certain. Alice Rohrwacher’s film is one of the wonders of this year’s festival.
The UK release date for The Wonders is yet to be announced.
Read more reviews from Cannes Film Festival 2014 here.
For further information about the festival, visit the official website here.
Watch the trailer for The Wonders here: