"Sicilian Ghost Story review – stylish crime drama fantasy with a nasty undertow
Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza’s good-looking film is a tragi-romance, but it’s based on a revolting crime
ou could alternatively call it Sicilian Love Story or Sicilian Bedtime Story or even Sicilian Shaggy-Dog Story. It’s an intriguing and good-looking film, an award winner in the critics’ week section at last year’s Cannes, inspired by a grisly true-crime horror of modern Sicily, a fact that is eventually revealed in a few lines flashed up on screen just before the closing credits. But it is a disconcerting revelation, as the preceding film’s recurrent mode of tragi-romantic fantasy, with a touch of , isn’t adequate for the revulsion and outrage that this story must surely inspire.
It is well acted and well directed by Sicilian film-makers Fabio Grassadonia and Antonio Piazza, whose debut feature – about a hitman’s psychological breakdown – had comparable style.
In the early 90s, preteen Luna (Julia Jedlikowska) is shyly but intensely in love with rich kid Giuseppe (Gaetano Fernandez), who is the same age, a bit smug and entitled; but he feels the same about her. They have an adventure in a forest and then he invites her to his family compound to look at his horse, which he rides in the full kit: hat, breeches etc. Both of these scenes are wonderfully shot. But then Giuseppe disappears, an enigma compounded by his family’s tight-lipped refusal to reveal to Luna (or anyone) what’s happening. She is to discover it has something to do with his father’s involvement and then de-involvement with the mafia."