Saturday, February 20, 2021

Changing times: Gorgeous, tradition-bound, coastal Sicily in the 1960s is the locale for Paolo Licata's ALONE WITH HER DREAMS

Yet another "find" from the increasingly indispensable Corinth Films, ALONE WITH HER DREAMS (the Italian title is the even lengthier Picciridda - Con i piedi nella sabbia) is the first feature film from director Paolo Licata, co-adapted from the novel by Catena Fiorello by Signore Licata, Ms Fiorello and Ugo Chiti. This is yet another small, independent, foreign film not picked up for theatrical release here in the USA that is very much worth seeing and savoring.

Filmmaker Licata (shown at right) hasn't merely found  some breathtaking locations in which to film this coming-of-age tale of a young girl separated from her parents, who must go abroad to earn a living to support the family, taking with them their younger child and leaving a very lonely Lucia (newcomer Marta Castiglia, above and below) in the care of her seemingly cold and domineering grandmother. No, he has used  these marvelkous locations to maximum effect.  

Granny is played by a wonderful Sicilian actress (TrustMovies has seen her a few times already, but this, he suspects, 

may be one of her best performances), Lucia Sardo (shown below, right, of The 100 Steps and The Sicilian Girl). Ms Sardo allows us to slowly understand the reasons for the grandmother's reticence and anger, as well as the great love she feels for her granddaughter and why she feels that she must keep this hidden.

Hiding and silence is the Sicilian answer to many problems, and it is to the film's great credit that it finally and thoroughly shows us how and why this simply adds to those problems. Setting the novel and film in the late 1960s, when change was quietly, slowly appearing -- even in Sicily -- allows us to see the tip of several icebergs that took their time before coming to the surface, from feminism to GLBT concerns to emigration/immigration.

Though the tale eventually encompasses some very heavy-duty events, Licati's style manages to avoid melodrama, while the excellent performances, beautiful landscapes and emotional, often-heart-tugging family dynamics will keep you more than glued to your screen.

From Corinth Films, in Italian with English subtitles and running just 95 minutes, Alone With Her Dreams is a movie to seek out and enjoy on a number of levels. It makes its DVD and digital debut this Tuesday, February 23 -- for purchase and/or rental. (I believe it will be available for Amazon Prime members to view at no charge.)

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