After staying fifteen years in the north of Italy, a Sicilian, Silvestro, returns to Messina, where he is confronted by the ever-present poverty. In the train to Catania, a town in Sicily, Silvestro meets a man who has settled in the Northern Italian city of Bologna and who tells his philosophy of life. The journey by train is evoked for the viewer by images of sea views from the train window. In the end, Silvestro meets his mother, who he hasn't spoken to for all those years. He asks her about his father, who left the house long ago. In this relatively short feature, maybe their most 'accessible', the film veterans Jean-Marie Straub and Danièle Huillet allowed themselves to be inspired by the novel Conversazione a Sicilia by Elio Vittorini from 1939. It was banned in fascist Italy. The directors used actors and actresses who performed the same story a year before as a play. The lively, occasionally humorous, occasionally pathetic dialogues give the film great pace. The camerawork is by William Lubtchansky, who shaped the look of more than sixty features, including much work by Jean-Luc Godard and Jacques Rivette. The 'documentary' approach to the story, the meticulous dialogues and the fine framing all contribute to this modest black & white film, that has great expressiveness.

International title
Sicily!
Filmmaker
Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet
Premiere
-
Country
France
Year
1999
Medium
35mm
Length
66’
Language
Italian
Producer
Pierre Grise Productions, Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet
Sales
Celluloid Dreams
Writer
Jean-Marie Straub
Editor
Jean-Marie Straub, Danièle Huillet
Sound Design
Jean-Pierre Duret