‘Sicilian Ghost Story’ Review: An Enchanting Mafia Tragedy

A young girl named Luna (Julia Jedikowska) pursues her crush Giuseppe (Gaetano Fernandez) into the woods. They tease each other, survive a run in with a vicious dog and begin to explore their feelings for each other. The next day Giuseppe goes missing, kidnapped by his father’s Mafioso friends. Luna is compelled to find her young lover and is guided by strange visions and a supernatural connection to the boy. As Giuseppe’s situation grows ever more desperate, Luna must decide how far she will go to find him.

Sicilian Ghost Story tells the tragic true story of the Giuseppe Di Matteo, son of mafia informant Santino Di Matteo. The supernatural elements are used to explore the profound loneliness and fear experienced by both the kidnapped boy and his would-be saviour. Luna and Giuseppe are able to fleetingly interact with each other through these fantasies. The deeply distressing narrative takes instead the form of a fairy tale, with the Princess tasked with saving the lost knight.

 The film blends authentic and visceral real world grime with the enticing ephemera of the shared dream.  The cinematography by Luca Bigazzi is understated, even when dealing with the fantastical. Directors Fabio Grassadonia and Anthonio Piazza create a mysterious yet compelling narrative. It’s All The Money In The World care of Pan’s Labyrinth.

Young leads Julia Jedikowska and Gaetano Fernandez excel in their portrayal of angst and frustration. Jedikowska in particular compellingly experiences the confusion of adolescence in these extraordinary and terrifying circumstances. Fernandez meanwhile embodies charm initially but melts away before our eyes.

Sicilian Ghost Story is an inventive exploration of childhood fears in the context of a truly horrific true life drama.

 Four Stars

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