Corpo Celeste

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“Vianello gives a lovely, unforced performance as Marta, who begins to see that the blue-eyed, open-armed fuzzy Jesus she’s being sold is a fake.” — Cath Clarke, Time Out

Year: 2011
Running time: 102 mins
Censor Rating: PG - nudity

Screenplay: Alice Rohrwacher
Producers: Carlo Cresto-Dina, Jacques Bidou, Marianne Dumoulin, Tiziana Soudani
Photography: Hélène Louvart
Editor: Marco Spoletini
In Italian with English subtitles
35mm

With: Yile Vianello (Marta), Salvatore Cantalupo (Don Mario), Pasqualina Scuncia (Santa), Anita Caprioli (Rita), Renato Carpentieri (Don Lorenzo)

Festivals: Cannes (Directors’ Fortnight), Toronto, New York, Vancouver, London 2011; Sundance 2012

Here’s a mordantly funny coming-of-age movie that also serves as barbed allegation that the Catholic Church’s primary devotion is to worldly dominion. Back in her native Calabria after years in Switzerland, 13-year-old Marta casts a wary eye over all she surveys. Learning the catechism, she is not impressed by the perplexing jumble of Latin ritual and woeful stabs at youth credibility: “seeing the Spirit is like wearing really cool sunglasses”. Catching on to the insecurity of her teacher or the jaded parish priest Don Mario’s connivance in right-wing politics, she’s an irritant they could do without. Her stand-off comes to a head when she is obliged to accompany the priest on an expedition to retrieve a giant wooden Christ Crucified from a deconsecrated church. Distinct and strange, as listless and as nettled by the absurdity of adult behaviour as its teenage protagonist, this is an impressive, absorbing first film from 30-year-old Alice Rohrwacher. — BG

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