Corpo Celeste (U)

Starring: Yile Vianello

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The Independent Culture

Alice Rohrwacher's film is a deeply strange meditation on faith and identity.

13-year-old Marta (Yile Vianello), back in her native southern Italy after years in Switzerland, is being prepared for her confirmation: at Sunday school she learns the catechism, but she sees through the authority figures – a schoolteacher, the parish priest – to the flawed individuals beneath. Immersed in this intensely Catholic atmosphere the watchful, recalcitrant girl quietly absorbs the goings-on about her, and an afternoon in an abandoned mountain village offers her a kind of epiphany about Christ and his suffering. In its mild-mannered way, it's a reply to mob movie Gomorrah, glimpsing a rarely seen side of impoverished Italy where priests rather than mafiosi rule the roost, and the people just grin and bear it.