Luzzu

(Malta/2021—directed by Alex Camilleri)

A hardworking Maltese fisherman, Jesmark is faced with a wrenching choice. He could repair his leaky, wooden, colorful “luzzu” (traditional Maltese fishing boat) in the hopes of eking out a living at sea for his wife and young son, just as his father and his father’s father did before him. Or he could cast his lot – and his last shreds of dignity – with a sinister black-market operation that’s decimating the Mediterranean fish population and the livelihoods of the locals who depend on it.

Luzzu snared the Special Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival for the performance of first-time lead actor Jesmark Scicluna, and heralds the arrival of writer-director-editor Alex Camilleri, a confident and powerful new storytelling voice in the neorealist tradition of early De Sica and Rossellini, and who also reflects the unflinchingly honest ethos of his American mentor, acclaimed director Ramin Bahrani (99 Homes, The White Tiger), who served as one of the producers of this gripping new film. In Maltese with English subtitles. (94 minutes)

“A moving tale of real-world strife... part observational drama, part social thriller.” -Jordan Mintzer, The Hollywood Reporter

“An affecting drama, indebted to the postwar Italian cinema of Visconti and Rossellini. But Luzzu’s brawny, sun-broiled shoulders can sustain the weight of its influences.”  -Guy Lodge, Variety

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