The Wonders, film review: Family saga combines social comment with Fellini-esque humour

(15) Alice Rohrwacher, 109 mins. Starring: Maria Alexandra Lungu, Monica Bellucci
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The Independent Culture

This sprawling, neo-realist-style family saga combines lyricism and social comment with bursts of Fellini-esque humour. It is set in the Italian countryside.

Dreamy but tough-minded 12-year-old Gelsomina (Maria Alexandra Lungu), the oldest of four daughters, holds her family together. Her father (Sam Louwyck) is an abrasive but vulnerable figure, struggling to make a living from his bee farm.

Monica Bellucci is the TV show host who lures the family into competing in a bizarre reality TV show celebrating the "wonders" of local culture.

The episodic storytelling style can seem haphazard but the writer-director Alice Rohrwacher succeeds wonderfully well in capturing the richness of the kids' lives in their own remote and often brutal world.