Panorama | Focus on Italy
An austere, stony, steep Sicilian coastal village is the atmospheric setting for this contemporary retelling of Sophocles’ tragedy Antigone. It’s a season without much sunshine and although this evocative place is very much a part of the modern world, ancient traditions run deep. Taciturn Gaetano (Syrus Shahidi) has recently decided to forego big-city life in Paris to take over the family bakery. Crisis arrives when Gaetano’s hot-headed elder brother intentionally crashes his car into the town bar, so upset is he by some grievance. He did not intend to kill, but he does.
This is a cataclysmic event, setting off a series of dramatic complications involving honour, the community’s versus the family’s. It’s literally a classic set-up, but with unpredictable results. The town mayor (an impressive Celeste Casciaro) may be largely sympathetic and progressive, but she decrees that village tradition must rule in this case. The body of a murderer shall not be put to rest in the village cemetery. Yet Gaetano is determined that he will bury his deceased brother there, alongside his family. The sombre cinematography and memorable music are fitting for what follows.