The Island

Costanza Quatriglio set her first feature on a beautifully sparse island near Sicily, where she follows the two children of an authoritarian fisherman as they struggle to gain some independence from their father and their tightly knit fishing community. The stoic eldest son (Ignazio Ernandes) dreams of trading the drudgery of work among the fishermen for the freedom of a sailor's life, while his tomboyish younger sister (Veronica Guarrasi) desperately wants to be accepted on a fishing crew. Quatriglio's gritty, detailed look at the fishing community's daily work has a dreamlike quality that's reminiscent of Terrence Malick—she too creates a world in which the land and water are as essential to the story as the characters. Her emotional detachment keeps us from truly connecting with the children, but the movie is still superior to the syrupy coming-of-age stories one often sees at film festivals. In Italian and Sicilian with subtitles. 99 min.

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