Luzzu, dir. Alex Camilleri, Malta 2021, 95 min., Maltese with English subtitles, 15
Alex Camilleri’s award-winning feature debut is a beautifully told tale that pits the forces of globalisation against the morals of a young fisherman struggling to make ends meet in modern-day Europe.
Jesmark (Jesmark Scicluna) is at a crossroads. A young man from a long family line of fishermen, he fishes off the Maltese coast in a luzzu – a traditional, multi-coloured wooden boat. But his luzzu is in desperate need of repairs, and Jesmark’s choice is plain: to repair in the hope of eking out a meagre living for his young family; or to decommission it for an EU payout, then join a sinister black-market fishing operation that is decimating the Mediterranean. Convincing performances from a non-professional cast – led by Scicluna, winner of the Special Jury Award at Sundance – lend added authenticity to this compelling and quietly urgent tale.
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