'Certe cose non si possono comprare'. 'Certain things you can't buy'. It's not often that one line from the script summarizes the whole film. But when the beekeeper Wolfgang speaks these words, he explains exactly what this film is about.
'Le Meraviglie' shows the life of a family of Italian beekeepers, intent on living a simple, rural, pure life, without any harmful influences from the outside world. Father Wolfgang and mother Angelica raise their four daughters according to strict rules: no television, no fancy clothes, no luxury. They have trouble making ends meet, and the father is a demanding man, who lets the children work in the honey-making business as if they were grown-ups. This is not a happy family: the father is ill-tempered and the mother is worried about the financial difficulties they have to cope with.
When the oldest daughter decides to participate in a contest for regional agricultural products, the family is forced to enter a world of commercial marketing and fancy promotion. This is the moment when the father tells a television show hostess that certain things are impossible to buy. He doesn't say what exactly, but it's clear what he means: integrity, purity, simplicity, and authenticity.
This is not a plot-driven film. It shows the confrontation between ideals and constraints, between dreams and reality. The film maker doesn't take sides. The commercial contest, representing the modern world, is ridiculous because of its slick sales pitch. But the life on the farm, representing tradition, is not happy and carefree either.
'Le Meraviglie' is filmed in an unpolished, realistic style, almost like a documentary, with bright lighting and hand-held cameras. The undisputed star of the film is the young actress playing the oldest daughter, an innocent girl who seems torn between loyalty towards her father and despise for his strict rules.
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Gelsomina's family functions according to very particular rules. First of all, Gelsomina, at twelve years of age, practically runs the family. Her three younger sisters obey her and work under her watchful eye. But the outside world mustn't know anything about their lifestyle, and they should be kept away from it, well-protected in their isolated countryside home. Gelsomina's father, Wolfgang, is a foreigner and Gelsomina is the future queen of this strange and improbable kingdom he has constructed for them. A male heir would have been better, of course, but Gelsomina is strong and determined and what's more, she has a special talent for beekeeping and making honey. It's Gelsomina that retrieves the swarms from the trees, who organizes the honey extraction, and she is the one that carries the hives. Whilst all around them the countryside is being burnt up by pesticides, rural life is falling apart and becoming something different, a TV show competition arrives from the city offering a cash prize and a luxury cruise for the Most Traditional Family. "Village Wonders" is presented by the good fairy, Milly Catena. Gelsomina wants to participate in the contest, but Wolfgang won't even consider it. Something else is tormenting him: the new European laws regarding farm produce. If they don't get their honey lab in order, with washable walls and well-defined working spaces, they will have to cease production. They have to work very hard to expand the bee colonies, and get the lab up to standard. In his desperate search for cheap labor, Wolfgang agrees to take on a delinquent German boy, Martin, who comes from a youth rehabilitation exchange program. The tension mounts: between a silent evasive boy onto whom Wolfgang projects his desire for a son, and, counteracting this, the outward reaching force of Gelsomina that will stop at nothing just in order to see the good fairy TV show hostess again. Nothing will be the same at the end of this summer for Gelsomina and her family. An extraordinary summer, when the strict rules that hold the family together, begin to break...
Uploaded By: FREEMAN
May 14, 2022 at 11:18 AM