Motherland (La terramadre)

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World sales: Comune di Palma di Montechiaro

BERLIN -- Two stories taking place in the Sicilian coastal village of Palma di Montechiaro in this movie, a genuine showcase for the talent of director Nello La Marca. Gaetano is a young man very much attached to his homeland, where his mother is buried, but his father wants Gaetano to move to Germany with him. Then there is the story of Ali, an illegal immigrant who survives a shipwreck.

Commercial prospects are very limited for this somewhat precious drama, which occasionally flirts with experimentation. The film is very repetitive and could have easily be half an hour shorter. "Motherland" aims to establish a parallel between leaving Sicily, considered as underdeveloped within Europe, for the economical haven of Germany, and the bitter reality of another South which knocks at Europe's door in the most tragic way. Gaetano and Ali will finally meet, in one of the film's most compelling sequences, reinforcing Gaetano's conviction that escaping his origins isn't necessary for the best.

Produced by the very city where the film was shot, "Motherland" sometimes looks like a tourist board promo reel. However, its narrow streets and not so touristic beaches are cleverly used to reinforce the characters' dilemmas.
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